Platforms and Online Workers in India and Africa: Challenges and Opportunities for Decent Work

  • Technological advances and digitalisation are rapidly transforming the world of work, and the emergence of online labour platforms is one manifestation of this. The resulting labour market outcomes and dynamics are not well understood, particularly in the Global South. This project consists of a series of four studies that contribute to understanding the characteristics and dynamics of online work in India and selected African countries.
    GIZ, 2022-2023

    Research Questions

    The series of studies adresses the following research questions:
    - Who participates in online work? Are there gender or educational differences?
    - What are the characteristics of online work, the tasks performed, and the associated earnings and working conditions?
    - How do the employment characteristics of online work compare with other opportunities in national or international labour market?
    - What are the employment dynamics of online work, for example the extent of upward mobility?

    Contribution to International Research

    The findings from the studies in the series will provide important empirical insights into the characteristics and impacts of online work in the countries under investigation and beyond. Although it will be difficult to generalise from our case studies, they are likely to provide insights into the heterogeneity of online work, be it across different types of online work, across workers of different genders or different skills, or across different countries.

    Research Design and Methods

    In four studies, the series focuses on online workers in the Global South, looking at workers in India and selected African countries, locations that are – to different extents – meeting the global demand for online labour and are home to a growing increasing number of technology firms and online platforms. The first study examines the nature and characteristics of online work performed by Indian workers. The second study that will provide evidence on the employment trajectories of Kenyan online workers, with a particular focus on gender heterogeneity. The third study examines the nature and significance of platform work in Afirca, based on a unique sample of aspiring IT-workers. The fourth study, examines the characteristics of Africa's emerging technology sector and its implications for economic development, particularly labour markets.

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