Flourish, a mission-oriented global venture capital firm with portfolio investments throughout Africa, today unveiled a survey in its global research series —The Digital Hustle: Gig Worker Financial Lives Under Pressure. The report tracks the experiences of gig workers, those who use digital platforms such as e-hailing or delivery apps, to learn more about how they are faring during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kenya’s gig economy has been growing steadily over the years with entrance of many local and international players offering ride hailing and online delivery services. However the Covid 19 pandemic affected operations in the sector making most players to effect a raft of measures in order to remain afloat in business.
Surveying more than 600 South African gig workers, Flourish found that 76% experienced a large decrease in income since March 2020. The report also summarizes how gig workers are coping with economic dislocation.
“Digital platforms have made it possible for workers around the world to participate in the gig economy, providing a degree of formality and stability to their work,” said Arjuna Costa, managing partner at Flourish. “When the coronavirus outbreak caused the global economy to come to a halt in Q1 of this year, workers were severely impacted. By tracking gig worker experiences in South Africa, and elsewhere, we hope to open conversations about how fintech companies can build lasting solutions for this vulnerable population of citizens.”
As part of The Digital Hustle: Gig Worker Financial Lives Under Pressure, Flourish began tracking the experiences of gig workers across the globe in May. The firm released the Brazil edition in June 2020 and is currently fielding surveys in India, Indonesia, and the U.S. With each of its country-specific studies, Flourish aims to help fintech entrepreneurs connect with the people most in need of aid and better understand their needs.
“The impact of COVID-19 on South Africa’s gig economy is a reflection of the situation in many countries across the continent. However, we expect the gig economy to grow across Africa and we believe that gig workers will become a larger part of the African workforce,” added Arjuna Costa. “It’s important that financial institutions understand how to work with and support this growing sector.”