West Africa: which countries recruit the most expatriates for top management positions?

Posted by Fed Africa in Career advice
Posted at 10/08/2022
West Africa: which countries recruit the most expatriates for top management positions?
Despite inflation and the economic fallout from the war in Ukraine, 2022 has so far been promising for West African economies, with growth of 5.4 percent and 5.6 percent in the first two quarters of the year, according to the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO). This positive trend is expected to continue in the coming months, demonstrating the strength of the post-pandemic recovery.

West Africa faces a mixed economic situation, with some states showing sustained growth, while others, faced with political instability and sanctions, present a bleaker picture. Countries with growing economies include Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Togo. This economic strength is attracting a growing number of companies, which sometimes have difficulty hiring locally trained, specialized profiles, resulting in a shortage of certain types of candidates in the market. The region therefore abounds with opportunities for international talent, especially senior executives, in a variety of sectors such as shipping and logistics, natural resources, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, and renewable energy. Here is a look at the top West African countries recruiting highly skilled labor.


According to the report "Where to invest in Africa in 2020" by the South African bank Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), Senegal tops the list of countries that will grow the most between 2019 and 2024. A true economic hub in the region, Senegal is attracting more and more foreign investors every year. EUROCHAM (The Chamber of European Investors in Senegal) has 160 affiliated European companies, whose investments are a guarantee of employment for expatriates. With its large expatriate community, Senegal is a country open to the world and has great political stability. Many Western and African expatriates choose to settle there with their families, where they benefit from the quality of its health care system and its schools. 

Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast is a subregional economic powerhouse, contributing 40 percent of the GDP of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the zone's exports. Ivory Coast has enjoyed dynamic, strong, and stable economic growth since 2012, despite a slowdown in 2020 due to the consequences of the health crisis. Nevertheless, the country remains the main economic powerhouse of French-speaking West Africa, with an economy driven by the financial, oil and agricultural production sectors.
The primary sector, mainly focused on agriculture, accounts for 22% of GDP, and the country remains the world's largest producer of cocoa (over 40% market share). The secondary sector, which also accounts for about 23% of GDP, is mainly concerned with oil refining, energy, agribusiness, and construction. Finally, the tertiary sector, which accounts for about 55% of GDP, is dominated by telecommunications, transportation, trade, and financial activities. All these sectors offer numerous job opportunities today. 


Togo's economy has recovered well in 2021, with its GDP growth estimated at 4.8 percent compared to 1.8 percent in 2020, driven mainly by the extractive and manufacturing industries. While some sectors have been hard hit by the health crisis (hotels, restaurants, road and air transport, informal trade, etc.), others (such as the beverage and cement industries, port activity, etc.) have maintained their dynamism or have very quickly recovered to their pre-crisis levels. Many sectors are currently looking for qualified experts. The agricultural sector, which provides two-thirds of the country's jobs, has low productivity on most farms. Improving agricultural productivity is therefore essential to accelerate the country's structural transformation. National economic prospects also depend on the country's ability to export goods and services to the region and the rest of the world. Trade and value chain experts are therefore in high demand to ensure more inclusive trade-led growth that will ultimately create sustainable jobs, higher incomes, and poverty reduction. 


Benin's growth has improved in 2021 to reach 7.0% compared to 3.8% in 2020. This positive growth is explained by the government's desire to make Benin an emerging country, which has resulted in the fight against corruption and the dynamism injected into the vital sectors of the economy: agriculture, services, trade, and public works (policy of major works). Benin's economy is driven by tertiary sector activities (trade, transport, communications and tourism) which account for more than 47.7% of its GDP.
With its solid growth, sustained investment, and political stability, Benin is emerging as a potential rival in the region, competing with Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, previously considered the "two economic powerhouses of West Africa," and has become a popular destination for international talent. 


While Nigeria's economic outlook is less impressive than other countries in the region (GDP growth is expected to be 3.4% in 2022), the country does offer interesting opportunities for expatriate candidates. An oil and gas powerhouse, Nigeria is also a major agricultural producer (agriculture accounts for about 20% of its GDP). In response to the multiple crises in the oil sector, the country has decided to innovate and is turning to sustainable development and the green economy. President Muhammadu Buhari has also launched a massive electrification plan, which aims to increase national production from 5,000 ww to 25,000 ww by 2025. These are all sectors where a highly skilled workforce is in high demand. 

Whether you are looking for a position in West Africa, or in another region of the continent, Fed Africa can assist you in your search. Find our latest openings for Top & Middle Management profiles or submit your CV via our spontaneous application form.