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Which African Software Developers Have the Highest Salaries?

By Wayan Vota on January 13, 2022

african tech entrepreneurs

Software developers around the world are seeing their salaries increase much faster than other professions. Everyone wants to hire a good software developer, engineer, or architect, and demand far exceeds supply. Especially developers who know one of these crucial languages.

The real question for digital development professionals is: “What is the cost of software developers in Africa?”

Obviously, salaries are not the only consideration for a humanitarian organization. They also want to know the quality of that developer, which is strongly influenced by a country’s technology ecosystem, its general business climate, English proficiency, and so on.

Still, for an individual coder, money matters. Hence we’re going to take a deeper look into African software developer salaries thanks to research by Tunga, a Dutch IT staff augmentation provider. They ran the numbers on who earns what across the continent and identified the most financially most rewarding 17 countries for developers.

Highest Salaries for African Software Developers

It might not be a surprise that South Africa developers have the highest average salary of €1,911/month. This is almost double that of Morocco, next on the list, and reflects the advanced SA economy. After Morocco at €1,018, then its Kenya at €788m, with Ethiopia at the bottom with €194 per month.

african software developer salaries

Interestingly, there is quite an income spread in many countries between the highest earners and the average earners. For example, the biggest earners in SA make 1.7 times the average for that country, however Nigeria‘s best coders earn 2.5 times the national average!

This gap can be either a reflection of the different general salary levels in urban vs. rural areas, or a fast-growing demand for coders in that country that increases demand for skilled staff.

Greatest Purchasing Power for Software Developers

While South Africa does pay the best, life can be more expensive there. That means the higher salary could become lower pay after the cost of living. Hence, we also need to look at the purchasing power parity between the 17 countries.

Tunga chose South Africa as the benchmark for their cost of living comparison. Senegal leads with 1.18, which means that the cost of living in Senegal is 1.18 times higher than in South Africa.

Surprisingly, Ethiopia, the country with the lowest developer salaries, is the third most expensive location, maybe do to the country’s recent history of political unrest? Hence, developer salaries are not always directly related to the actual in-country cost of living.

african software developer salaries

The results show that the high cost of living in South Africa is more than offset by the high salaries. So if you are a gifted software developer and want to maximize your after-expense income, move to South Africa, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, or Kenya. Do not move to Ethiopia, Senegal and Ghana, which are the least attractive, due to a high cost of living and low salaries.

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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