Remote work could create millions of jobs in Africa, if…

Image by Desola Lanre-Ologun

I believe that remote work could create millions of well-paying jobs in Africa…if African governments can get behind it and clear the way!

As more companies adopt fully-remote work, young, talented Africans can increasingly access formal job opportunities around the world. On the continent only about 15% of jobs are formal, yet globally, there is a shortage of talented employees. So, global companies could look to remotely hire talented people from Africa without the cost of having to relocate them and navigate immigration processes, right?

But, companies are scared to do so!

This is not just an Africa thing, but companies are unwilling to hire full-time employees living in countries where they do not have established offices because they are scared of regulation and taxes.

Hiring remote employees in foreign countries could put them in breach of that country’s local labor laws and see them taken to court and forced to pay local taxes. Not a risk most companies would take.

Globally, we are starting to see governments ease these regulatory hurdles. More than 40 countries have now begun to offer ‘digital nomad visas’ that allow remote employees to move to their country without a tax obligation on them and their employers. This is in an effort to attract foreigners with well paying jobs to their countries.

What if, instead, African governments eased regulation for foreign companies to offer remote jobs to their citizens as long as the work they were doing was not focused in their local countries? This would bring huge employment opportunities to the continent and help strengthen local economies.

I am not a policy expert, so I could be wrong. Let me know what you think. Where are the holes in this idea?

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