Briefing Paper

Digital Labour in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges

Increased access and use of the Internet has led to the advancement of online labour, which is driving the gig economy. The ‘platformisation’ of the global economy enables virtual labour mobility—the remote buying and selling of digital labour, which is by its very nature highly mobile and not non-geographically constrained. It is estimated that these platforms have created a market worth over USD5 billion for online work with over 48 million workers worldwide. Digital work can be roughly categorised into microtasks and macrotasks. Microtasks include tasks that can be performed within a short time horizon and are often clerical in nature, while macrotasks are long-term projects that typically require specialised skills and usually attract much greater remuneration. The main objective of the study was to assess the implications of changes in the nature of work (digital labour) for developing countries in the Global South, for marginalised groups in particular, for equitable growth and inclusive social development.