A total of 1.2 million people, which translates to 5% of the adult population, are currently working online.
According to a new report released by the Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Joe Mucheru, the 1.2 Kenyans are working online through Ajira Digital program.
“Our June 2021 National study on digital and digitally-enabled work & awareness of the Ajira Digital Program in Kenya established that 5% of the adult population in Kenya are digital workers, which translates to 1.2 Million Kenyans,”
Mucheru also said that Kenya has the potential to become the global headquarter for freelancing.
“We all need to be ambassadors of change, ensure that what has been established, continues to grow. Kenya can be the freelancing headquarters of the world. The future we want, cannot be achieved independently…we value partnerships and unity for growth,” the CS said.
Digital Marketing, Data Entry and Article Writing are top of the jobs Kenyans are doing online.
Digital marketing has 282,041 online workers engaging, (22 percent), Data entry (21 percent) and Academic paper writing (20 percent).
There has also been an increase in Virtual Assistant services, according to the report.
“Kenyans offer different services on online forums. Digital platforms for sports betting, virtual assistants, surveys among others have recorded an increase,” the report read in part.
Challenges for Working Online in Kenya
Lack of digital skills, internet connectivity and high costs of data are some of the challenges facing on online work in Kenya.
“Skills gap, lack of access to Wi-Fi and high costs of data are the main challenges,”
The CS further said the government has provided over 350 workstations with computers and free WiFi to enable youth to work online.
The Growth of the Gig Economy in Kenya
A similar recent report my Mercy Corps, also recorded that the online gig economy has gradually grown in Kenya, transforming how Kenyans access work and is transitioning young Kenyans towards “more accessible, competitive and consistent job opportunities”.
“Gig work is gradually changing the nature of how Kenya’s workforce accesses jobs, and is gradually shifting the access of work opportunities from informal to digital platforms hence offering new revenue streams, creating more stability and formalizing work conditions.” The report says in part.
The report defines the gig economy as; a labor market that is characterized by three features: (i) the worker is independent; (ii) the work is short-term in nature, where the gig worker performs work on a short-term or task-by-task basis; and, (iii) the worker is paid by the task as opposed to those workers who receive a salary or hourly wage.
The report also recorded that online gig work in Kenyan is still limited to urban areas.
“While the government and other developmental actors have made efforts to introduce youth in rural areas to digital skills and work, poor network coverage or connectivity quality, poor information and low awareness and trust in gig work continue to limit penetration in these geographies”.