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Articles  >  Imagine  >  Not Just Oil and Tourism: Safari from African Employers

Not Just Oil and Tourism: Safari from African Employers

Author: 16.10.2015 | Africa, society
In almost every large Ukrainian city – especially if it is “spoiled” with number of educational institutions – there is a small district called “campus” among locals. Dormitories, dining halls, libraries, university buildings here and there and… dark-skinned guys that exchange currency. This is the way students of Ukrainian high educational institutions earn a bit on the side and manage to obtain aspired degree at the same time. After that some of them stay and others go back home – to Africa. Now, what do people on the sunniest continent do, including those who return to native shores as “bankers” with dimplomas?

Nigeria. A country with huge oil potential and relatively weak industrial one - at the same time. Lingering political instability prevents the state from deriving excessive wealth from “black gold” so there is still a long way for it to go till the status of United Arabic Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Local oilmen are rightfully considered a prosperous society layer – they earn about 200 dollars a month but it is hard to make it into their ranks due to job deficit. Majority of population – and that’s about 70% – are engaged in agriculture and content themselves with modest salary of 95-110 dollars a month. However funny it sounds, but another popular profession in the country is cinematographer. Nigeria ranks second in the list of world’s moviemakers after India. Local “Nollywood” produces over 900 films a year! Average budget of a movie isn’t large – about 15 thousand dollars, but at least cinema men are always provided with job and work for several projects at the same time. It results in local cinemas being infested with home-made hits.

In a neighboring Cameroon they mostly work in agricultural and oil-producing fields, too, however the most popular and profitable profession is taxi driver. The thing is that public transport is either hopelessly outdated or is absent at all. Even in the capital, Yaoundé, one can wait for a bus for ages. Dream of the majority of citizens is to earn enough to purchase a car while cities of Cameroon rather suffocate from traffic jams than from heat. Another local feature is motor taxi – as a backup option for those who failed to acquire a car. By the way, in order to have a ride on it alone one has to pay about a thousand francs – otherwise be ready that a driver will get you some company. And it can be a large one – front seat alone normally accommodates three persons. One passengers seat costs 200 frankc.

It's been several decades since what was previously called Ivory Coast, now Côte d'Ivoire, chose another development vectors: oil, gas, coffee and cocoa. There are thousands of plantations all over the state: from large state to small private ones. Agriculture there is nowhere near mattocks - it is all about modern machines and ample income. Côte d'Ivoire accounts for one third of world's cocoa production, and it also is its largest supplier. Alongside agricultural field, where it isn't hard to get a job, Ivorians eagerly engage in fishing and football. While the former field is relatively new (variety of fish species is pretty poor, however expensive tuna gathers near the coasts of the counry), sport is a proven way to get rich. French scouts and football agents carefully explore local market to take talented boys to Europe from time to time. Lady Luck smiles to some of them, like, for instance, Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure, and they become one of the world's best - and that means millionaires. At that, average salary in the country constitutes 115 dollars.

Let's move to the north of Africa, to already pretty "European" Algeria. Despite relative stabiliy and rich natural resources few Algerians work in the field of indistry. Local citizens prefer civil services far better. About 30% of population are public officials of all hues. Upon graduating from either local or French universities, they willingly head to offices, preferring paperwork to gas production. By the way, Algeria ranks 8 in the world in terms of gas resrves.

Egypt and Tunisia - there tourims runs the show and ecenomy. They teach children English and try to arrange for them to work at a hotel. Every fifth Egyptian is connected to tourism in one way or another. The reason for things to be this way is simple: the field has good salaries in local standards so in high season even unqualified newbies earn 300-400 dollars a month and for experienced employees the number is multiplied. In Tunisia situation is pretty much the same with only difference that the state invests as nearly as half of its budget in medicine and education. No wonder that the most remarkable buildings in the state are schools and hospitals and professions of doctors and teachers are a dream of every youngster who aims at stability and social protection. And plan B is to get a job at service industry.

Let us conclude with the best economically developed state of the Dark Continent - with South African Republic. All in all, the state lives a life that isn't much worse than life in the West (cleaning ladies there earn about three hunded dollars) and that impacts professions of local citizens. "Working hands" of locals industries belong to people who come there from all over the continent. Roads, airports, hotels, stadiums for FIFA World Cup 2014 and other objects erected in a rush were built by everybody but South Africans. The latter ones only dealt with design and supervison of the process. Alongside managerial positions, locals are engaged in entrepreneurship and trade. And there is a substantial reason for that - South Africa ranks among world's Top-10 states with most favorable conditions for business development.

Well, upon having a look at Africa, that is habitually called the poorest region of the globe, you can't but realize: such point-blank conclusion is slihtly superficial although not entirely groundless. True, civilization and progress are the kind of deficit oil that isn't applied to Earth evenly, but general trend is that many developing states gain pace in all respects. The word among analysts and economists even is that 21st century will be marked as a century of the Dark Continent. And there are all the prerequisites for that, especially in the context of non-developed African fuel reserves against the background of impoverishment of those in the rest of the world. So, upon hearing that another go-getting businessman relocated his business to South Africa or that a fellow student of yours comes from Algeria, don't rush to raise your eyebrow compassionately. Who knows, maybe, by the time he will have much more reasons for that.

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