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Overcoming HR Challenges When Expanding to Africa

Mar 6, 2023 | 0 comments

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Mar 6, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments


Africa’s natural resource and a vibrant youth population who are eager to work and to learn have given the region a mammoth entrepreneurial potential and a huge but untapped market (Games & Dianna, 2014). Due to the potential that lays in Africa investors and business leaders have increasingly been aware of the economic potential of sub-Saharan African flourishing consumer market (Mattaen & David, 2012). According to Mattish (2017), Africa has currently one billion people which are roughly a 14% of the world population though it only accounts for a merger of 2.2% of the global GDP. The region also offers a billion-dollar consumer power that many investors are keen to access despite the challenges in expanding into the region.

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According to information from the international monetary fund from 2001 to 2010 African countries dominates top ten fastest growing economy with 6 positions (Mattish, 2017). It rivals India and China in regards to the population of the middle-class citizen which is almost 350 million individuals, the ease of doing business in Africa has also greatly improved. Games & Dianna (2014), reiterates that though American direct investments in Africa is just 1%, American companies such as Microsoft, Wal-Mart, Proctor & Gamble have already set foot in Africa and are already established. Other countries like China, Turkey, India and Brazil are constantly increasing their direct investments to Africa.

However it is vital to acknowledge that companies have reported 42% failure in international assignment more so in Africa. With the risk that comes with an assignment in Africa, it’s upon the human resource managers to give adequate upfront support for the ongoing programs that will turn the international assignments into success support (Tansky, Judith & Heneman, 2006).

This expansion takes place in Nigeria which has a population of over 175 million, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya among others that offer favorable investment opportunities due to the political stability and availability of both labor and natural resources (Mataen & David 2013).

Selection Process

The purpose of expanding to Africa is for the company to remain competitive and to explore untapped opportunities or underutilized sector in Africa (Mattish, 2017). A total of 10 employees will be selected to head the team which will be made of locals in the host country. According to Lussier, Robert & Hendon (2013), the human resource team needs to ensure the employees selected have a solid grip on the job requirements and the goals set for that position. The human resource team has the duty of ensuring the selected employees are exposed to cultural activities and language instruction of the spoken to the country they will be deployed in Africa ( Kossek, Ellen & Sharon, 1996).

Assignment Period

Considering the fact that the employees will move with their families, the assignment will be long-term to avoid destabilizing the children. A period of two to five years is recommended. This period will also ensure there is continuity in the company and the quality is maintained (Lussier, Robert & Hendon, 2013).


The company will use a balance sheet approach to compensate the employees moving to Africa. This approach entails calculations of home country allowances and reimbursements then the determined net salary is converted into the host country currency. According to Kossek, Ellen & Sharon (1996), the primary goal of this approach is to maintain the current status of the expatriate through compensation that will ensure stability flexibility and equity in a challenging African nation in a balanced way. By this, the employees will be guaranteed the same living standard as it is in their home country (Tansky, Judith & Heneman, 2006).


According to Mattaen & David (2012), Sub-Saharan Africa is mostly considered as a hardship place, therefore the expatriates may find it extremely difficult to find decent houses more so in the hostile host country. To ensure that employees remain comfortable in Africa, the company will procure a compound where the employees will be housed (Lussier, Robert & Hendon, 2013). To enhance the security the company will hire armed guards together with dogs to beef the security. With this in place, there would be no need to increase the house allowance. The house in the same location would also make it easy for evacuation in cases of emergency or political instability.

The family

Partner dissatisfaction has been significantly linked to assignment failure. This has made companies re-evaluate how they are and reconsider a dual-income household concept to entice employees to their international assignments outside there host nation (Kossek, Ellen & Sharon, 1996). To avoid any friction that would hinder the company from progressing the HR team would put more emphasis on ensuring the expatriate’s spouse work and is comfortable in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to Kossek, Ellen & Sharon (1996) children are also significant in ensuring the expatriate delivers fully. Children will definitely have some difficulty in adjusting to a new country with new environment which might, later on, contribute to the failure of the assignment by the expatriates. The HR team will enable the transition of the children runs smoothly by transition first by ensuring both the parents and the children are prepared for relocation (Tansky, Judith & Heneman, 2006). The company will assist in school selection ensuring they choose an international school at the host nation that is at the same level with the ones the children attended.


There is no doubt that there are many challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa. The human resource team should take into consideration the challenges and offer an enticing package that would encourage the employees to stay focus on their assignment while in Africa.

Work Cited

Games, Dianna. Business in Africa: Corporate Insights. , 2014. Print.

Kossek, Ellen E, and Sharon A. Lobel. Managing Diversity: Human Resource Strategies for Transforming the Workplace. Cambridge, Mass: Blackwell Business, 1996. Print.

Lussier, Robert N, and John R. Hendon. Human Resource Management: Functions, Applications, Skill Development. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 2013. Print.

Mataen, David. Africa: The Ultimate Frontier Market: a Guide to the Business and Investment Opportunities in Emerging Africa. Petersfield, Hampshire, Great Britain: Harriman House, 2012. Internet resource.

Mataen, David. Africa’s Economic Moment: Why This Time Is Different. Petersfield, Hampshire, Great Britain: Harriman House, 2013. Internet resource.

Mattish, S. (2017, May 03). Sub-Sahara Africa: Entrance and Expansion into an Exciting Market. Retrieved from https://onfrontiers.com/blog/sub-sahara-africa-entrance-and-expansion-into-an-exciting-market/

Tansky, Judith W, and Robert L. Heneman. Human Resource Strategies for the High Growth Entrepreneurial Firm. Greenwich, Conn: Information Age Pub, 2006. Print.

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