This region covers a total of 49 countries from Mauritania and Ethiopia in the north to South Africa, Namibia and Botswana in the south.For religious and political reasons, some countries in this region also have ties with Arab states and some of them, like Eritrea, are effectively failed states.

This region is the least urbanised in the world, with two thirds living in rural areas. Many states in west Africa, such as Nigeria and Angola, have immense natural resources. However, for historical and political reasons many states have weak economies, have high crime rates and social unrest and suffer from a wide gap in the distribution of wealth. Many of the northern states also live under the constant threat of attacks from the jihadist Boko Haram.

Labour market summary: The high proportion of people working in the informal economy and concentration of people in rural areas indicates this region’s low level of economic development. The population is growing fast and the average age is just 19 years compared to 41 years in Europe.

Greatest advantages: Low labour costs, good supply of low-medium level skills, great wealth of natural resources.

Greatest disadvantages: Shortage of high level skills, dishonesty, corruption, disease, poverty and political instability.

Proportion of global land area: 16%

Proportion of global population: 14% 
Annual rate of population increase:
Life expectancy: Men 58 years Women 62 years

Working population in the informal economy: 72%
GSI Modern slavery (Forced Labour) (proportion of global total) 13.6%
Unemployment rate: 8%
GDP/capita PPP (current) $3732
Female labour participation rate: 63%
Male labour participation rate:74%
World Bank rating (ease of doing business): 143 (of 189)
FedEE overall employment potential rating 6/10
FedEE regulatory rating: 3/10 – weak laws and low enforcement

Minimum wage rates (selected states)
– Botswana P5.79/hour (Manufacturing) 2017/18

– Cameroon 36270 FCFA/Month (Since 2014)
– Ghana 9.68 cedis/hour January 2018
– Kenya KE118.35-262.80/hour (artisans) by skill/location May 2017
– Nigeria N18,000/month (employers 50+ workers) last set 2011
– South Africa: 3200 rand/month to be introduced in May 2018
– Zambia Old rate. Plan for sector based minimum wages (2017)