Digital nomadism is on the rise as more people around the globe find themselves in a position where they prefer remote work. Technology has developed to allow several professions the luxury of employing individuals that can work from anywhere in the world. With these developments and the continual growth of investment interest in the continent, Africa has become one of the top destinations for digital nomads.
Africa as a digital nomad’s destination of choice
There are a variety of reasons why Africa has seen an influx of digital nomads over the last couple of years. On a surface level, good weather and lower cost of living (in comparison to Europe and the USA) are some of the factors that are making African cities attractive to remote workers. Cities such as Cape Town and Zanzibar, which are tourist attractions, to begin with, are some of the most attractive for those that want to enjoy the best of the continent while still being able to participate in the working economy.
There is a strong correlation between the rise of digital nomadism and the growth of the startup industry on the continent. Investment in African startups has increased significantly, and it is no coincidence that this has come with an increase in the number of digital nomads that are interested in working from African cities. Aside from the opportunity to work from some of the world’s most attractive tourist destinations, remote workers are chasing lucrative opportunities that are available in the African startup scene.
Startups, co-working spaces, and job opportunities
Developments on the African startup scene have had a ripple effect that is changing how the work industry looks on the continent. As more startups come into existence, and investment into these startups continues to increase, there are opportunities that open up for professionals. It is these opportunities that are playing a key role in drawing the attention of digital nomads. Startups in the tech industry are particularly driving interest in the continent’s startup culture. Cities such as Lagos and Nairobi are home to some of the best tech startups in Africa, and the statistics show that these are some of the cities to which digital nomads are flocking.
While the startups themself attract investment and they grow in their own right, they influence the growth of other related industries around them. Co-working spaces and hubs usually follow behind the growth of new-age companies. These co-working spaces serve as key networking environments for professionals where ideas are exchanged and opportunities are discovered. As much as the digitization of the working environment means that one can access opportunities from anywhere in the world, physical shared working spaces also play a vital role in enabling access to opportunities.
What does all this mean for Africa?
The increase in the number of digital nomads finding their way into African cities has the potential to affect a number of areas. Local economies that were affected by the pandemic can potentially benefit from an influx of workers that have the necessary buying power. The tourism sector was affected by the pandemic as travel was restricted. However, the world has opened up and although tourism itself is still not back to its peak, these destination cities are benefiting from the arrival of digital nomads. South Africa has been quick to respond to the interest from digital nomads, with the country working on amending its visa laws to allow digital nomads and startup industry workers to stay in the country for longer than the visitor’s visa permits. In doing so, South African cities become some of the prime destinations for remote workers, a move that will be beneficial for the local startup economy as a whole.
The rise of digital nomadism in Africa presents a viable opportunity for the continent as a whole. Policies and work cultures that are welcoming to professionals from around the globe are essential as they create room for the development of the best products possible. Over time, it will be interesting to see how digital nomadism affects startup and work culture on the continent.
We will be talking more about this and other important parts of the future of work at the upcoming Freelancer’s Summit. To find out more about how you can become a part of the summit, visit https://freelancerssummit.org/.