Global development employers in Johannesburg

A view of Braamfontein, Johannesburg. Photo by: Paul Saad / CC BY-NC-ND

In international organizations, leadership, fundraising, advocacy and many of the decision-making roles tend to be based at headquarters. And headquarters offices tend to be based in Western countries, the primary donors to development activities worldwide. However, some development organizations are looking for ways to decentralize their decision-making process and get closer to their projects and beneficiaries by moving core functions — or even their entire HQ — to the global South. This is particularly the case on the continent of Africa.

Africa is the region likely to see the most hiring in the year ahead, according to 76 percent of the global development recruiters that Devex surveyed to better understand hiring trends for 2017. Several cities across Africa are also emerging as hubs for employment in the global development sector with organizations and governmental agencies establishing regional offices in Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Dakar, Pretoria or Johannesburg. Oxfam is in the middle of relocating its international secretariat from the United Kingdom to Nairobi in order to be closer to the people it serves. Meanwhile, ActionAid International relocated its head office from London to Johannesburg over a decade ago.

Founded in the U.K. in 1972, ActionAid International was the first global development organization to move its operations south when it relocated in 2004. While South Africa continues to face social problems and challenges to its own development, the relative peace it has enjoyed for over two decades since the end of apartheid has allowed several international development organizations to set up regional offices there. It is yet to be seen if more organizations will follow ActionAid and Oxfam in moving operations to the global south but Johannesburg remains a central location for international aid and advocacy groups working in Africa. Here is an overview of some of the international employers based in South Africa’s largest city.


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About the author

  • Emma smith

    Emma Smith

    Emma Smith is a reporting and communications associate at Devex, based in Barcelona. She focuses on bringing the latest career and hiring trends, tips, and insights to our global development community. Emma has a background in journalism and, in addition to writing for news publications, has worked with organizations focusing on child rights and women’s rights in sustainable development.