Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa are the top Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries that accounted for 80.6 percent of internet traffic flow to online gig platforms, according to the World Bank.
In its new study titled ‘Working Without Borders: The Promise and Peril of Online Gig Work’, the international organisation, said the result of the three countries was used to estimate the number of online gig workers for the remaining countries, which accounted for 19.35 percent of the traffic flow, giving roughly 21.7 million gig workers in SSA.
“The gig economy no longer is only a developed-country phenomenon but is becoming increasingly important in emerging markets. Almost a third (30 percent) of the traffic to gig platforms stems from visitors in the United States, followed by the Russian Federation (14 percent) and India (6 percent),” the report said.
It said around a fifth of visitors (18 percent) are from low- and lower-middle-income countries (driven by India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Ukraine), and 22 percent come from upper-middle-income countries (Belarus, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, and Türkiye).
“Together, low- and middle-income countries account for 40 percent of traffic to gig platforms. This underscores both the relevance of gig platforms in emerging economies and the importance of emerging economies for gig platforms.
“Gig work shares characteristics with informal work and other diverse forms of nonstandard work that are widely prevalent in developing countries, where most people work outside the purview of labor regulations and without access to social insurance and benefits,” the multilateral institution added.
Other countries representing some of the largest gig work are the Arab Republic of Egypt, Argentina, Bangladesh, China, India, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, República Bolivariana de Venezuela, Russian Federation, Tunisia and Ukraine.
According to authors of the report, social insurance coverage is low among gig workers because almost half of surveyed gig workers do not subscribe to a pension or retirement program,
“But this proportion can be as high as 73 percent among surveyed gig workers in República Bolivariana de Venezuela and 75 percent in Nigeria,” they said.
They added that in Indonesia, only 34 percent of gig workers have precautionary savings and around 60 percent of them are struggling to meet their financial obligations.
World Bank said: AXA Mansard Insurance, a leading insurance provider in Nigeria, provides insurance plans to self-employed artisans and freelancers by adapting its models to account for infrequent gig earnings.
“Other companies, such as Catch in the United States, work with gig platforms to target individuals who do not receive health insurance coverage through employment and offer them a package of services, including support with filing tax returns and so forth.”
It added that local platforms tend to be more specialised in terms of tasks listed, citing an example of Findworka, a Nigeria-based online gig work platform that chose to specialise in information technology (IT)-related gig work by especially sourcing workers with IT skills and providing training to build skills in this field among local gig workers.
“SheWorks, a Latin America and the Caribbean platform, tends to focus on tasks in digital marketing and on writing and translation,” the Bank said.
“Global platforms, on the other hand, generally feature tasks across a wide range of categories (business and professional services such as human resources, accounting, consulting, and marketing; creative and multimedia; software development and programming; administrative and clerical tasks such as data entry and data labeling; and writing and translation).”