To a lot of people they hear of “Africa” and they think to themselves that Africa is a deep, dark and gloomy place with nothing to offer. On the contrary this is where people are wrong and naive in their thinking. Africa is alive and well with so much to offer, rich in minerals and natural resources. It is said that within the next 10 years the United States of America will be receiving 10% of their oil imports from West Africa alone. As it stands Africa has made up to 70 oil and gas discoveries in the past 5 years.
What does this spell out for Africa?
Well in simple it translates into jobs. The oil & gas industry has always had a high demand for human resources and skilled oil & gas professionals globally. We going to look at the African job market and discuss the challenges that could potentially stand in the way of hiring top professionals in Africa. I would suggest reading my article if you are a human resources professional, oil & gas professional or just generally interested in what is happening across Africa.
Now going back to my comment above about 70 discoveries across Africa in the past 5 years can only mean one thing for the continent. It spells major human capital disaster with only a tiny handful of countries such as Nigeria, Angola, Congo (Republic Of Congo), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and majority of North Africa currently having experience in Oil & Gas. Many companies have experience in the fact that there is a major drive to nationalize the workforce and pressure from Governments in the various countries to abide by these laws. Gabon mostly runs at 95% local workforce probably the best in Africa at present, which of course is evident that localization is possible. I fully support localization of the workforce but interesting enough I was sitting at a conference three years ago listening to the Minister of Petroleum for Gabon. He was encouraging all the other African countries to push for nationalization of locals immediately. It is a great idea however at the time I could only see it as poor advice. In my opinion it could take between 5 to 8 years to get your locals to an efficient level of potentially moving them into a supervisory role. What Governments need to keep in mind when dealing in Oil & Gas is that the companies have to abide by strict Health & safety codes to ensure that lives are not lost at the very least. This is why it is critical to ensure the right workforce is on the job. There is no room for error in the Oil & Gas Industry and these are just one of the many challenges that face companies today. Oil & Gas companies and Governments need to work hand in hand to ensure that the correct skills are indeed transferred over to the locals. More needs to be done by companies to ensure that training programs are setup and Government needs to be more lenient on the expatriate quota. I can definitely say that companies across Africa have been putting a lot of measures in place but unfortunately Governments are still keeping major pressure to nationalize locals into the positions in the quickest possible time.
African people are among the brightest people in the world and love studying to improve their lives. A lot of companies are working with local universities and taking graduates across to Europe and America to train them up. This has worked effectively and it takes approximately 12 months to have that individual in the field working. Work with specialist recruitment companies that understand the African markets. One I can recommend of course is my own company CA Oil & Gas. The company is a specialist in Africa offering, contingency / permanent recruitment along with contractor and payroll support in the various African countries. The company has been recruiting into Africa for the past 7 years.
Eugenio Maggi – Managing Director – CA Oil & Gas a company of CA Global International