- By Sam Fenwick
- BBC Business Daily presenter
The BBC has profiled three African women – a former store owner, a teacher and a taxi driver – who have increased their earnings since embracing digital platforms.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced many people to rethink how they make money.
Independent research group Caribou Digital found that women in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana benefit from the low barriers to entry and flexibility of the digital economy – allowing them to earn their own money while maintaining custody of children.
Ms Tarit (pictured above) did not expect to double her income in nine months.
The Covid pandemic has forced the closure of its baby clothes store in Eldoret, western Kenya, and the subletting of assets through online platforms such as Airbnb seems like a practical step to stop.
But Ms Tarit, 29, is now one of a growing number of African women seeking new careers using platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and ride-sharing apps like Uber and Bolt.
He started his business on a property nine months ago and now owns seven-taking out long-term rental and subscription contracts with Airbnb.
“I earn more than the business I had before the pandemic,” Ms Tarit told BBC Business Daily.
The people who use his business are mainly tourists booking holiday accommodation and businessmen who prefer to stay in an Airbnb than a hotel.
“During Covid, many of my friends lost their jobs and started using digital platforms to make money. Now they sell groceries online and work as delivery drivers,” Ms Tarit said. .
A normal day for Ms Adzogble, 32, begins with posting advertisements for products on WhatsApp and Facebook from her home in Accra, the capital of Ghana.
It takes advantage of one of the biggest changes in Africa’s economy – the rise of online marketplaces.
He sells cell phones, air conditioners and televisions by advertising and posting to groups he creates on WhatsApp and Facebook, as well as existing groups like his church group.
Ms. Adzogble gave up her job teaching French to focus on her online business.
“It pays more than education. I can sell something and earn more than a month of education. I am a mother. I have to give my children the best education possible and they are the motivators me to get my financial freedom ”, he said.
For Ms. Adzogble, building strong relationships with customers is key to making money online.
“That way they will buy from you and give good feedback,” he said.
Ms Lawal, 34, works for ride-sharing company Uber and Bolt in Nigeria’s main city, Lagos.
However, it hasn’t been easy – the single mother of four said some men refused to drive a woman.
“When I started driving taxis in Lagos, all the men canceled their riders when I came to pick them up,” Ms Lawal said.
“Lagos is a bit difficult and you have to be very strong to drive in the city. The men think I don’t have the strength. I have to convince them to get in the car,” she added.
The Caribou Digital study also found that many women who use digital platforms to earn a living are concerned about their safety.
“Many of the women we spoke to said they were sexually harassed when riding in a taxi,” lead researcher Grace Natabaalo told the BBC.
“While governments encourage young women to do this work, they should recognize the other side – that there are risks and they should be taken seriously by the police and government services,” she said.
But Ms Lawal said the positives outweighed the negatives.
“Earnings are important, but I also want to contribute to the wider economy by paying taxes. I want to grow and develop the Nigerian economy,” he said.
- You can listenhere(in English) the three women told the story to Sam Fenwick.