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Report Shows Kenyan Internet Economy Is Worth Sh10B With 40K Kenyans Employed Online

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In a fast growing digital world, Governments, businesses and individuals must adapt to this new reality and over the last decade, Kenya has  not been left behind. The country has grown into a digital state unlocking immense possibilities. Kenya is one of the world leaders in driving financial inclusion through the use of digital finance solutions such as M-PESA, Mula, PesaLink and Pesapal.

A report now shows the Kenyan Internet economy as at 2019 is $109 million and employing a total of 36,573 Kenyans. The main online employers being online ride hailing ($ 45 million) and online professional work platforms ($55 million). Online rentals and blue-collar matchmaking platforms account for $5 million and $3 million respectively.

“New industries are being created a variety of new products and services, both for the Kenyan and the increasingly accessible global market. The adoption of new technologies is also creating well-paying jobs for professionals of diverse backgrounds, translating into
improvement in quality of life, increased connectedness and other auxiliary benefits to citizens.” Joe Mucheru Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology

The online gig economy (a labour market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs) has gradually grown in Kenya, transforming how Kenyans access work and is slowly transitioning young Kenyans towards more accessible, competitive and consistent job opportunities. With unemployment rates standing at 26.4 percent, and the Kenyan government’s inability to provide employment opportunities, Kenyans are opting to look for these opportunities online.

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however, the report shows that online gig work in the country is still limited to urban areas even after 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 online work continue to limit penetration in these rural communities.

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The report Youth Impact Labs by Mercy Corps expects the countries internet economy to grow by 33 percent over the next five years, to around  $345 million (Ksh34 B) in 2023. The sector is also expected to be employing almost 100,00 Kenyans, representing a growth rate of 27 percent.
Key growth ‘sectors’ in terms of earnings will include ride hailing platforms (37 percent average annual growth) and blue-collar matchmaking platforms (63 percent average annual growth) which present the highest income growth opportunities for gig workers.


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