The rise of the ‘gig economy’ in Africa

Here’s a term you are going to be hearing a lot more of over the coming months and years in Africa - the ‘gig economy’, otherwise known as the sharing economy or the on-demand economy. Remember when the word ‘gig’ was associated with musicians looking for an opportunity to perform somewhere? Well, not any more. Today, the gig economy is associated with the rise of businesses such as Uber and Airbnb, companies started to facilitate the exchange of goods and services between a wide variety of individuals using a technology platform. As these sharing-based companies continue growing and expanding their offerings to meet the demands of their clients, they are also hiring more independent contractors - and this is where the ‘gigs’ come in. There are plenty of people out there, particularly Gen Xers and Millennials, who are either ready to leave the “9-5” grind or are looking to supplement their income by working gigs alongside their existing jobs. More and more people are looking to find work as independent contractors in the shared economy, and they’re reporting pretty high levels of satisfaction with the work, according to the report“From ‘Gig’ to Career.” The flexibility is a plus for many, as is the independence that comes with self-employment. So, as the ‘gig economy’ explodes elsewhere in the world, it is only a matter of time before it makes a huge impact here in Africa too. Think about that when you next take an Uber ride.