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What Are Some Jobs the People of Africa Have?

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Africa is the world's third-largest continent and includes 54 nations, each with its own unique culture. Westerners sometimes have misconceptions about the people of this vast and varied continent, which is partially due to a lack of detailed media coverage of the region. The reality is that in almost every aspect of life, including the jobs and careers they possess, Africans are no less diversified than people in the rest of the world.

Agricultural Jobs

Agriculture is a key industry throughout Africa, and many Africans either work their own land or the land of others. In many areas that are more barren, such as the Sahel region below the Sahara desert, herdsmen graze their cattle before making the long trek to markets in the larger cities. In more tropical regions, such as the jungles of Guinea or in southern Cote d'Ivoire, crops of pineapple, papaya and mango are harvested to be sold locally or exported. Coffee is also produced in Cote d'Ivoire and in other countries such as Kenya. Eastern and southern Africa has large farms where the people cultivate the fertile soil to produce crops of vegetables. Subsistence farming is also common in most parts of the continent. Africans engaged in this type of job grow everything from millet to peanuts, selling their excess in village markets or making the journey to the bigger cities to sell their produce there.

Hospitality and Tourism Jobs

Hospitality and tourism are intertwined industries that employ many Africans. The ease and popularity of travel has increased the demand for workers in these fields over the last few decades. Kenya is possibly the continent's most popular destination for safaris, with its enormous game parks, while the pyramids and other historical wonders of the ancient world lure travelers to Egypt. Hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and transportation services in these locations all employ local workers to handle the bustling tourist trade. The influx of tourists also increases the demand for the products of area artisans, which in turn helps the micro-business ventures of everyone from the curio seller in Cairo to the women who offer to sell travelers the brightly-colored baskets and beaded bracelets along the beach near Saly, Senegal.

Infrastructure Jobs

While stereotypical villages complete with huts and scantily-clad natives can still be found in many parts of Africa, the continent also hosts several large towns and world-class cities. The infrastructure required to keep these urban areas functioning provides thousands of jobs for residents. The coastal city of Dakar, Senegal, for example, is home to about 3,000,000 people. A city of this size requires a large police force as well as firefighters to deal with emergency situations. Utility workers are needed to keep power, water and sewage services operational. Postal employees guarantee that the mail goes through, while companies such as Sonatel hire personnel to ensure that their customers' telephone and Internet communications are up and running. Africans working in infrastructure positions account for a significant percentage of the jobs in the city.

  • "Africa"; Geoff Crowther, Hugh Finlay, Jon Murray, Deanna Swaney, and Richard Everist; 1992
  • "West Africa"; Alex Newton and David Else; 1997

John E. Roper is a freelance writer who has written articles for "The Arizona Republic," "The Daily Oklahoman," and several other newspapers and digital platforms over the past two decades. His play, "When I Was Five," has been produced in three countries. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1985.

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