Fundi Africa: Advancing Africa’s Gig Economy
The evolution of the Employment sector in the Tech era has been remarkable. Formal employment still plays a major role in socio-economic development and a full-time job remains the norm in most countries. However, the rise of the informal sector cannot be ignored, especially in countries where unemployment rates are at a staggering high. A McKinsey report observes that in Africa, 63 percent of the total labor force engages in some form of self-employment or “vulnerable” employment. It is indisputable that new business models such as that of Uber and Jumia have transformed the way we view work. The Gig Economy is not only thriving, but it is also growing and out of this realisation, Fundi Africa was born.
“The gig economy involves the exchange of labour for money between individuals or companies via digital platforms that actively facilitate matching between providers and customers, on a short-term and payment by task basis.” –The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
A chance encounter with a skilled Carpenter looking for more work and interactions with friends who needed skilled workers for various projects but had no way of connecting with them transformed Co-founder Julia Pierre Nina‘s world. Together with co-founders Sevan Karmandarian and Andrea Sanchez, they came up with a solution.
Fundi Africa is a digital marketplace that connects trustworthy Skilled Workers with ad-hoc business opportunities and makes the process of booking and paying for jobs easier. The platform currently uses its website and WhatsApp to connect clients with a database of around 100 people who suit the jobs and payments for the jobs are made through M-Pesa.
According to a Foresight Africa Report, the potential for gig platforms to provide a source of consistent work and centralized governance and support is even more exciting in Africa where platforms can leapfrog informal economies. Fundi Africa goes beyond simply linking the workers to consumer demand but has created a model that focuses on professional development while also addressing pain points such as Bargaining which is prevalent in the African context. The enterprise has developed a consistent pricing scheme that helps both the Fundis and their clients get value for their time and money. Prices differ depending on the time-frame for jobs which are either short-day, half-day or full-day.
To also assist in improving work ethic and motivate workers to perform well, Fundi Africa has a reward system that moves a Fundi up in their price bracket according to the ratings they receive for their work. A high rating will also get workers into a training program that ultimately enables them to reach a higher economic bracket. The platform is currently piloting in Daresalaam but has future plans to scale into other cities such as Nairobi, Lagos, and Johannesburg.
Listen to my full interview with Julia in this Podcast episode: