Digital Workforce Soars: Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa Lead Africa’s Gig Economy with 17.5 Million Online Freelancers
A recent report by the World Bank has unearthed a digital revolution in Africa, with Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa taking the lead. These three nations are now home to an astonishing 17.5 million online gig workers, revealing the immense growth of the gig economy across Sub-Saharan Africa. This surge has also made them responsible for a substantial 80.6% of internet traffic directed towards online gig platforms throughout the region.
The World Bank’s comprehensive study provides two intriguing estimations of the global gig worker population. The first employs data science techniques, suggesting there are 154 million unique registered gig workers, with 60 million actively engaged. The second estimation, based on a worldwide survey, astoundingly indicates that there are approximately 435 million gig workers globally. This disparity underscores the sheer complexity and dynamism of the digital gig economy.
Crucially, the report focuses on online gig work facilitated by internet platforms, differentiating it from traditional employment models. Gig workers on these platforms undertake a wide array of tasks, from food delivery and ride-hailing to care work, data entry, design, and software development. The convenience and accessibility of these platforms have revolutionized the world of work.
While the report identifies 545 online gig work platforms across the globe, operating in 186 countries, it’s noteworthy that over 60% of these platforms are headquartered in EU countries or the United States. In contrast, only about 23% are based in low- and middle-income nations. Despite this concentration, countries such as India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Ukraine collectively contribute a significant 18% of the traffic to these platforms. This underscores their growing influence in the digital gig economy.
As the gig economy continues to flourish and evolve, these findings underscore the pivotal role of online gig work in shaping the future of work, both locally and globally.