Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Uganda and Morocco are the destinations of choice for foreigners working in Africa‚ with SA dropping down the rankings as expat parents grow increasingly anxious about the country.

SA has slipped 13 places for family life (from 19th to 32nd) in the 2018 Expat Insider survey by InterNations‚ in comparison to 2017’s survey.

"Expat parents are less satisfied with both the availability and the costs of childcare and education than they were last year. While 63% said that childcare was easy to afford in 2017‚ only 43% of expat parents still agree in 2018‚" the survey’s authors said on Thursday.

"The same is true for education‚ which was rated affordable by 44% in 2017 — but just 34% think so in 2018."

Apart from childcare and education‚ 38% of expat parents also worry about their children’s safety‚ which is close to four times the global average of 10%.

Safety is not only a concern among expat parents‚ but one shared by many expats in SA‚ the survey authors stated: just 29% feel safe here‚ which is 53 percentage points lower than the global average (82%).

In addition‚ only 22% regard SA as politically stable‚ compared to the global average of 63%.

More than one-third already considered the political situation in SA a potential disadvantage even before moving there (compared to 13% globally)‚ InterNations said.

A thumbs up is given to SA’s weather (92% v 61% globally) and the available leisure options. More than four in five expats rate SA’s leisure options positively (compared to 75% globally). "The climate is among the best in the world‚" a Dutch expat is quoting as saying‚ adding that "nature is beautiful and easily accessible".

Source: InterNations
Source: InterNations

Out of all the expat destinations on the African continent featured in the survey‚ Uganda is the best-rated country in 2018 (26th)‚ with expats saying they find it easy to settle down there‚ although they are unhappy with their career prospects.

Close to nine in 10 expats in Uganda perceive the attitude of local residents towards them as friendly. As a result‚ they say they have no trouble stepping outside of the "expat bubble"‚ with 63% saying that their social circle consists mostly of a mix of local residents and expats. This is far above the global average of 47%.

"People in Uganda are incredibly friendly‚" a US expat said.

When it comes to quality of life‚ however‚ Uganda only ranks 55th out of 68 countries worldwide. And just 43% of expats in Uganda consider the country politically stable‚ which is 20% less than the global average (63%).

Morocco is ranked 32nd overall. With 71% of expats feeling safe there‚ Morocco is the best-rated destination in Africa for this factor. However‚ this is still 11% below the global average (82%). Uganda (66%)‚ Egypt (64%)‚ Kenya (33%)‚ and SA (29%) are perceived to be less safe.

When it comes to politics‚ close to three-quarters rate Morocco’s political stability positively‚ which is above the global average (63%).

Egypt ranks lowest in Africa‚ at 63rd place out of 68 countries worldwide‚ with expats citing a low quality of life and unsatisfying working conditions.

Just 39% of expats in Egypt are happy with the transportation infrastructure (compared to 68% globally) and only 27% rate the quality of the environment positively (compared to 69% globally). Twenty-one percent are unhappy with the available leisure options. "The entertainment here is pathetic," said an expat from Zimbabwe.

Safety and politics play a significant role in the country’s ranking too: just 24% consider Egypt politically stable (compared to 63% globally) and only 64% feel safe there (compared to 82% globally). Furthermore‚ only one in five expats rates the state of the economy in Egypt positively‚ compared to 64% globally.

Overall‚ this year’s top 10 destinations for expats are Bahrain‚ Taiwan‚ Ecuador‚ Mexico‚ Singapore‚ Portugal‚ Costa Rica‚ Spain‚ Colombia and the Czech Republic.

Bahrain defended its first place‚ which it secured in 2017‚ thanks to excellent results for working abroad and ease of settling in (first for both). Seven in 10 expats in Bahrain (70%) are happy with their career prospects (compared to 55% globally) and 81% find it easy to settle down in this country (compared to 59% globally).

More than three-quarters of the expats living in second-placed Taiwan (76%) are satisfied with their job security (compared to 59% globally)‚ with the destination ranking first in the world for this factor. Taiwan also offers the world’s highest quality of life‚ and 77% of expats feel at home there (compared to 64% globally).

Coming in third place‚ Ecuador is one the biggest "winners" of the 2018 survey‚ moving up 22 places since 2017 (when it ranked 25th out of 65). While less than half the expats in Ecuador (46%) were satisfied with their career prospects in 2017‚ 69% are happy now. Moreover‚ 76% find it easy to settle down in this Latin American country (compared to 59% globally).

The bottom three countries for expats are India (66th)‚ Saudi Arabia (67th) and Kuwait (68th). Complaints include poor air quality and pollution‚ while in the two Gulf states‚ expats find it hard to get used to the local culture.

InterNations states its Expat Insider survey is conducted annually with more than 18‚000 respondents‚ representing 178 nationalities. Participants are asked to rate up to 48 different aspects of life abroad on a scale of one to seven. Their ratings are then bundled in various combinations for a total of 17 subcategories‚ and their mean values are used to draw up six indices: quality of life, ease of settling in, working abroad, family life, personal finance and cost of living.