I Want to Move to Africa, Now What?

I received a phone call from a nice gentleman who wanted to know where to start. You see, he intends to move permanently to Ghana in a couple of years and has no idea where to get started in his preparations. I’m no moving consultant; but I was struck by his desire to move to Africa and bring his skills with him so as to assist in the development Ghana in whatever way he could. I must admit honestly that he didn’t have a great knowledge of the country or the things he would need to do to get there. But again, his passion impressed me. With two years to go, he has the time to become informed and here is a piece of the advice I gave:


Before deciding on moving to a foreign country, find out the basics by visiting the US State Department’s website (or equivalent organization from your country of citizenship) and find out what they advise for citizens who want to live abroad in that country. You will often find information concerning everything from health insurance, real estate, schools, and an array of other concerns you might have while living there. Then contact the local embassy or consulate from that nation. For example, the Ghanaian Embassy in Washington D.C can inform him of the visa requirements and tell him what things he will and will not be able to do as a foreigner living in Ghana.


Another thing which might be helpful is if you can ask the embassy about (many countries have them) an American-(whichever country you want to move to) Association or Club.  I’m making up the name here but let’s say the “Americans in Ghana Association.”  Often expatriates like to form associations or clubs to help them network or just give them a cultural taste of home on occasion.  They are an invaluable resource when moving; because they are doing exactly what you want to do.  They are a wealth of advice and often are exited about the chance to help someone starting the journey.


Let’s focus on moving to Africa though:  Africa has a major problem of brain drain. Thousands of Africans leave their home countries each year looking for opportunity elsewhere and they take their training, skills and experiences with them. It is clear that there is a role for those who are interested in reversing the “Brain Drain” and emmigrating to African countries in order to contribute their skills and abilities. But first, check out the area you would like to move to… thoroughly. Good intention, without good research, can be more harmful than good: not only to the people that you are going to help; but to you as well.


34 thoughts on “I Want to Move to Africa, Now What?

  1. Hello I am an American who would like to relocate to Ghana. Accra to be exact. I am a college graduate-BA in Communications. I have work experience in private security, corrections, and heating and air technology. How do I go about finding work in Ghana, getting work permits and possible sponsership to move? How much does it cost to live in Accra and what is the average wage for someone with my skills in Accra?

  2. http://discussions.ghanaweb.com/viewtopic.php?t=11057&

    You might find the above link helpful. I like GhanaWeb and have visited it in the past for research and found the people there very helpful, as are most Ghanaians I know.

    You can ask for more detailed information as to where to search for jobs in Ghana (to give you a feel for the current market conditions, getting permission to work in the country, etc).

    I am sure that you will find that the Ghanaian Embassy or Consulate nearest you will also be able to provide you with a wealth of information concerning your eventual relocation to their country.

    My only other advice is that you be very careful about anyone offering to “assist you” with the move, paperwork or other legal matters directly. There are, unfortunately many people who are less than scrupulous. I’d seek out sources who were recommended by trusted sources only.

    I wish you luck on your hunt for information! Keep in touch and let me know how its going. You are sure to love Ghana, it is one of Africa’s most stable countries and its full of some of the friendliest people around!


  3. So, yeah, replying to this is a little bit late, but I was thinking of a career in the legal system, being a lawyer (Specifically a prosecuter, or ADA or something like it) and I’ve always loved the thought of moving to Africa.

    Would I have a place there if I went to learn the law of the country or city I was moving to and practice law there, you think?

    • Hello Jake and thanks for taking the time to ask your questions.

      I was left wondering one thing as I read your comments: Have you ever visited Africa? I was wondering about that because: you didn’t tell me what region of our vast continent you are interested in living in or why. I am also left unclear as to whether or not you have already finished your studies in law.

      In essence, what I am trying to say is that I think that you need to do some careful research and thought as to why you want to live and work in Africa. Please understand that it is a great dream. I do not want to discourage it in that sense. But, it is a very big move and one that should only be taken after much research has been done.

      Take your time and make a list of reasons/answers to the following questions: why you want to practice law in Africa, what can you do where you live now to prepare yourself for an eventual move (so that you have the skills, experience, connections and plans in place to ensure your success) and where do you want to move (and why). I think that will give you a good starting point to begin planning from.

      Best of luck in your planning. It will certainly be a large task; but worth it in the end.


  4. I am a nursing student who will be graduating in about a year and a half. I half had a huge passion for the entire continent of Africa ever since i was a young child. I want to move to Ghana for a few years after collage. I am ready to do what ever i need to in order to make this dream be a reality. I was wondering if you knew what my chances are of getting a job as a nurse in Ghana straight out of college. Also, would i need to know how to speak Twi or will just English be okay? I also have a daughter, 11 months right now, and she would be coming with me. Money is not a concern for this move, i have been saving and i have a huge support system. i just need to do a lot more research to figure out what is the best way to do this. Do you have any suggestions for me??

    Thank you!!

  5. I am a Latina women married to an African-American man and we have three children. 10, 4, and 7 weeks old. What can we do to get to Africa and raise our family. I have a BS in Humand Resources Management and My husband has a BS in Film Mgt and works for the local news.

  6. What are the differences between American law and African Law? And if one were to decide to domicile in Africa bringing his/her many talents to the vast plains of the African Republic could he/she do so with immunity?

    In essence denouncing citizenship.

    Cheers and blessings to you..

  7. I have the biggest desire to move to Africa to do something great, to help those in need in any way that I can. I currently work in a grocery store and I am a street minister… not exactly skills in need. What can I do to be a truly skillful commodity to the African people?

    • I am kelvin born and raised in Kenya and trying to start the same thing of bringing people from allover th globe to come and live and start up businesses in Kenya and help develop ths great upcoming nation…perhaps we could work together.

  8. Hey Mama,
    I’m a sophomore in high school and am trying to figure out whether it would be smarter to go to college and then attempt to move to Africa or if college would just be a waste of time and money. I’d like to move to Burkina Faso and try to improve the life of girls and women there through the expression of fashion and textiles, while providing these women and girls with sustainable incomes and a safe space. I’m open to other countries, but I’m looking more towards countries that speak any French at all. Burkina Faso stuck out to me in my research because of the large artist population in Ouagadougou, including the SIAO International Arts and Crafts Fair.
    All I want to do is help the people of Africa. It’s my dream, my passion. I’m considering the Peace Corps and/or an internship with a textile corporation I found in Uganda when I turn 18. I’ve never been to Africa, I’ve never even been out of the States, and I’m very lost as to where to even start. I’d love to start a fashion business, but… I don’t even know where to begin. Any pointers at all would be greatly appreciated.

  9. I used to read you blog faithfully, I’m sorry I ever stopped! Now I remember what got me enamored hooked to begin with.

  10. You should tel him to also consider kenya I cn pretty much volunteer to help him wth all that preparation..am born and raised in Kenya..

  11. Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the challenges.
    It was really informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Hello I was interested in moving to Nigeria Osogbo,Osun state and I have been searching for more information about the area, culture, and job opportunities. I will be graduating with my BA in Business Management early 2015 and looking to move shorty after. I’m very ready to have a new experience outside of America, please if you have any resources that could help me I would appreciate it. Thanks

  13. Im a African American living in the southern hemisphere of the United States. By trade im a industrial technician, machinists an welder. And I am very interested in moving to Ghana, Accra to be exact. With refineries that rivals those here in the states, im very interested in using my skills to work in this field. Im in the early planning stage an will welcome any advice from you. Thanks for your time.

    • Bobby is your decision on Ghana final? could you re consider another country like Kenya ? am based in Nairobi and my organization sources investors and people from all over the globe who are looking to live, work or do business here in Kenya in any industry of there choice and i am very sure your expertise can do good here. i can do some major research for you if your interested..contact me…+254726440543.

      • Hi Kelvin,
        I am a semi-retired teacher in Canada, single male, 55 years old. I would love to move to Kenya, maybe teach English, or even invest in some kind of business. Thank you, Tony My email: pbysshe-at-hotmaildotcom.

  14. I have dreamed about moving to Africa since I was younger I am a writer and I believe I can write some really inspiring stories by emerging myself in and learning the culture. I do not know what kind of work I can find there or how I can become a citizen. What should i do to prepare myself for this move and what country would be best? What languages should I learn. I have so many questions and is it worth it is my biggest one.

  15. Hello

    I am a 16 year old teenager from New York who would like to be a teacher in Ghana. My dream has been to live in Ghana since age 12 and I have studied the history of the country and so on and so forth. Do you know how I would be able to get a job there first after college? and is it true that muggers specifically target non-Africans (I am white) and women?

    Thanks so much. Your input is much needed and appreciated.

  16. Hello

    I am a 16 year old teenage male from New York who would like to be a teacher in Ghana. My dream has been to live in Ghana since age 12 and I have studied the history of the country and so on and so forth. Do you know how I would be able to get a job there first after college? and is it true that muggers specifically target non-Africans (I am white) and women?

    Thanks. Your input is much needed and appreciated.

  17. Hey, My real name is Don’treal, but my grandma an GMA calls me Solomon because my Ancients roots goes back to The Congo land the most beautiful place. I did research an my mind body an soul and getting called by MamaLand.I know I can adapt the people and environment. I’m very open mined to every being on the face of earth. Its the earthly connection between man and nature. I want to learn the language precisely. What are some ways to connect with people that want to help people like me move to Africa???

  18. Hello, I am a software developer and I’d like to move to Africa and use my skills to help the maximum number of people (maximize the misery reduction I can do). I’m 48, been in software for 20 years, and am burnt out on the greedy selfish lifestyle in the U.S. I don’t want a salary in Africa, but I will need to eat and some shelter to stay alive day to day. I need to find opportunities for people like me who don’t want to be just a “volunteer tourist” and who don’t care for any amenities once there and who don’t want to return to the U.S.

  19. As an American, I’d say one of the most important things to do is to learn about the culture. My fiance’ is from Central Africa, and as beautiful and amazing as his culture and experience is, there are days where it has my hair falling out. We have two different pasts, mentalities, mindsets, and beliefs. There are things that we just can’t understand about each other. I’m trying to get there, but there’s still so much for me to understand about him. Culture runs deep in Africa, and matters of respect are not to be treated lightly. I would highly suggest that anyone going to Africa read up on the culture (not easy to do since privacy is so important). You want to make sure your speech and behavior is in line with the norm there. The people are amazing, but things that are okay in America DO NOT fly in Africa. Know before you go.

  20. I actually discovered this site while looking for blogs that might discuss aspects of African culture (specifically, roles of husbands and wives, views on children and family, what defines respect, etc.). I haven’t found anything as of yet. Would you know of any sites or authors by chance? I could really use the insight since my fiance’ isn’t much of a talker when it comes to culture (not uncommon from what I’ve seen and heard from Africa).

  21. Hi, I’m American born and iam interested in moving to Kenya. Could someone help me, with the first step to take. I’ve never been out the country, and I should have my passport soon. Thanks so much

  22. Hello. My name is April. I am interested in moving to Ghana. My husband and I want to raise our two small children there. We have both graduated from Aviation school. He is currently working as an industrial Maintenance Mechanic. I am working as a quality control inspector for a construction company. I also have worked as a Laboratory Technician analyzing oil and fuel. I believe that we would be a great asset.

  23. I am a 28 yr old woman currently in the states I have skills in Building Welding , and architecture .. I have 3 children ages 10, 8,&7 I would love to move home .. And spread the knowledge of building. houses schools etc..

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