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Since the Covid-19 pandemic came, remote workers have risen globally, creating a new trend of lifestyle, digital nomad culture. Statistics show that 52% of professionals believe remote working...
Since the Covid-19 pandemic came, remote workers have risen globally, creating a new trend of lifestyle, digital nomad culture. Statistics show that 52% of professionals believe remote working increases their productivity.
In Africa, remote working and the digital nomad lifestyle are becoming popular as technology advances. It’s estimated that over 80 million African citizens have remote work arrangements. Furthermore, more foreigners are moving to African countries as remote workers, with some African countries already introducing digital nomad visas. Let’s explore opportunities, challenges, and infrastructure needed to support this trend and attract global talent.
Remote working offers a wide range of opportunities to many people living in Africa. It also comes with a lot of advantages, such as flexibility in work hours, location freedom, increased productivity, and better work-life balance. Suppose you have specific skills or expertise, these are remote work opportunities worth looking into:
Here is the good news, hundreds of companies globally are constantly looking for people/ employees to work remotely. All you are required is the necessary skills, stable internet, and a computer. Some common remote jobs most companies offer include web designer, developer, social media manager, market researcher, data analyst, administrative assistant, project manager, marketing, customer support, etc.
It’s easy to find a listing of remote jobs or WFH jobs on platforms like LinkedIn, Toptal, FlexJobs, Remote.co, Indeed, among others. Often, opportunities include full-time employment and part-time time.
Why would companies consider hiring remote workers in Africa? To start with, it gives them access to a wide pool of talent with skills and experience. Remote working also minimizes the operational cost of a business since remote employees don’t need working space, printers, electricity, transport allowances, etc.
Another opportunity to work remotely in Africa is through freelancing. It simply means working remotely, not as an employee but as an independent contractor. Therefore, most freelance work is project-based, and there is more freedom in how the work is undertaken. Besides, freelancers have the priority of choosing the clients to work with and projects to work on.
Remote independent contractors find freelance or contract jobs from platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, Turing, NoDesk, etc. Additionally, freelancers can pitch clients (international and African companies/businesses) directly.
Common freelance jobs on demand include professional photography/videography, copywriters, virtual assistants, technical writers, marketing and PR, consultants, blockchain experts, cyber security specialists, etc.
Digital nomads in Africa can entirely run an online business and earn income. As a matter of fact, this kind of business creates more remote jobs for other people when outsourcing some roles is necessary. Examples of online businesses that digital nomads may consider starting include eCommerce, consulting/coaching, a marketing agency, affiliate marketing, online courses, and digital products.
Co-working spaces are shared workspaces designed to accommodate employees of different companies, freelancers, or self-employed individuals who come to do work independently. Co-working spaces provide amenities such as high-speed internet, comfortable working desks, meeting rooms, washrooms, and coffee shops.
With the increased popularity of remote work and the nomad lifestyle, the popularity and demand for co-working spaces are also rising. One could invest in professional co-working spaces, especially in African cities such as Cape Town, Nairobi, Cairo, Kampala, Abuja, Accra, and Port Louis. They’re considered popular cities for digital nomads in Africa.
Despite the widely growing popularity of remote work and nomad lifestyle in Africa, a significant number of people are struggling with some key challenges limiting their participation in the fast-growing gig economy. They include:
Despite the number of internet users evolving pretty fast across Africa in the last few years, internet connectivity is an issue for a significant population. Nearly half of Africans lack an internet connection or have access to the internet with low bandwidth. This is a major issue derailing the fast adoption of remote work in some African countries. However, countries such as South Arica, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Egypt, and Tunisia have quality internet connections, and that’s why they dominate the remote workspace within Africa.
Most African nations face the issue of power supply where some parts don’t have power, and others have limited supply. Nearly 46% of Africans still lack access to electricity. Besides, the cost of electricity is relatively high. As a result, it affects the productivity of remote workers.
Most homes in Africa have limited space and no designated workspace, especially in rural places. Also, one is likely to deal with unavoidable destruction by kids or family members, particularly for parents or individuals living with family members, which is pretty common in an African setup. Therefore, working remotely for some people can be one big challenge.
The perception of working from home is still not welcomed in some parts of Africa. Someone working from home may be perceived as lazy because some people think you’re hard-working if you leave home early to work and return in the evening. Consequently, this perception may demotivate or discourage people from exploiting available remote work opportunities.
As outlined above, these two are key challenges that affect remote work in Africa. Governments ought to play a role in improving the quality of power and supply to most households at a fair cost. Private telecom companies could also help if they sold their services in areas with less internet connection, especially urban areas. As a result, more people would be interested in remote work.
One strategic way to create awareness of digital opportunities, especially for young people, is to encourage more people to learn digital skills. Support from relevant government agencies, players in the private sector, and tertiary learning institutions would also substantially help equip more people with on-demand digital skills which help them work online. Some of these skills include coding, marketing, AI & Machine Learning, data science, copywriting, UI design, software development, content creation, SEO, cloud computing, and ethical hacking.
As more businesses shift to remote and hybrid work models, they need tools to help them onboard, manage, and pay their remote teams. What is the best way to do it effectively? They should consider using advanced tools such as Workpay. It helps employers onboard, manage, and pay remote teams seamlessly.
Remote work and digital nomadism are expected to keep growing as the young population becomes more tech-savvy. Additionally, some African cities have proven to be great places for remote workers and digital nomads worldwide. There are great opportunities for remote working for people living in Africa.
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