The countries on the bottom right (Ethiopia, Senegal, and Ivory Coast) are the least attractive due to the high cost of living and low salaries. The prime locations are found at the top left: Morocco and Kenya. While the cost of living in South Africa is high, we can safely say that the high salaries offset expenses. The reverse seems true for Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, and Uganda. The cost of living is so low that it compensates significantly for the relatively lower salary level.
Of course, people don’t just pack up and leave only for money. The local people, nature, culture, quality of life, and many other factors also weigh into that decision. And as a developer, you need a good tech environment too. Having said that, at Tunga, we like a bit of adventure – or we would not be where we are now! So if you’re an African dev looking to earn more, you know where to start looking. Good luck with the relocation!
Our article focused on the 17 best African countries to source developers. We used a wide range of publicly available sources for our research, which were subsequently cross-checked. Our data was sourced from Glassdoor, Paylab, Payscale, Salary Explorer, Average Salary Survey, TechJaja, and Mywage. We uncovered the average salaries, the highs, and the spread. For our blog, we decided not to focus on the pay on the lower end, as these salaries are generally paid for junior and below junior positions. Since our developers and clients are mainly interested in medium level and upwards, we felt we could safely leave that info out.
Next, we found data on the cost of living in the various countries on Numbeo. This site uses a ‘basket’ of expenses (consumer goods prices for groceries, restaurants, transportation, rent, and utilities) to compare costs in various locations. Yes, we realize that the consumption pattern will differ from location to location (let alone from continent to continent!), but this is the best tool we found.
Numbeo then indexes the scores, with New York City as a benchmark. We felt it was more appropriate to use an African country for our comparison, and we decided to go for South Africa – based on the fact that SA has the highest salaries. This means that the indexed results by themselves are pretty meaningless. These indexed outcomes must always be interpreted as compared to living in South Africa. For example, if the cost of living in Senegal is 1.18 (Table 10, a Senegalese developer pays 1.18 times more for his shopping than he would pay for the same products and services in South Africa.
A note on the results
The height of the salaries depends on many factors, such as skills level, experience, local market circumstances, and so on. Also, remember that the numbers published on the sites are often based on self-reported data. And while the stats cover most developers, there are – of course! – exceptions. Theoretically, there is no limit to how much an African senior developer can earn with remote work on the international market. In general, though, coders making more than the high-end can be considered outliers.
Featured photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash