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The gig economy: a new frontier for employment in South Africa

Written by Staff Writer

October 3, 2023

By Aasiyah Adams, Founder and CEO of Abaguquli4IR 


Driven by technological advancements, the gig economy has emerged as a feature of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The gig economy holds a special appeal for many modern professionals who find themselves drawn to the idea of flexible work arrangements. Within this sector, individuals can select their work location, set their own hours, and even define their desired level of seniority when accepting paid assignments. 

If an individual is able to maintain productivity levels and meet their deadlines, they can pave the way to earning an income.

The rise of flexible work has propelled the global gig economy to a value of approximately $298 billion, encompassing diverse opportunities ranging from software development and artificial intelligence (AI) services to e-commerce, robotics, digital marketing and more. 

Given the pressing issue of unemployment in our country, the rise of the gig economy deserves more consideration.

My experience in the changing economy I have firsthand experience with the varied prospects that the gig economy offers. Growing up in an economically disadvantaged background, my lifelong passion has centred around empowering individuals facing similar circumstances to achieve economic prosperity.

Leveraging my extensive expertise in training and development, human resources, and advisory roles, with a particular focus on black economic empowerment within the aerospace and engineering sector, I established Abaguquli4IR. Our company specialises in digital skills training, aiming to equip unemployed individuals with essential skills for income generation in the gig economy.

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Unlocking the Gig Economy’s Potential

The economic opportunity provided by the changing world of work is evident. To harness the potential of the gig economy for our country, we must consider the following:

Address the Skills Gap: Bridging the digital skills gap within our communities is paramount. South Africa possesses a wealth of talent, including often-overlooked segments like unemployed graduates and dynamic micro-entrepreneurs. According to a report published by the Boston Consulting Group last year, the increasingly technology-driven economy may require digital skills training for up to 650 million workers in Africa by 2030. Equipping South Africans with 21st-century skills will be crucial to meeting the demands of the changing economy.

Enhance the accelerator program ecosystem: Improving the local accelerator program landscape, involving various operators, is essential. Tailoring models to our unique socio- economic context will enhance the effectiveness of initiatives like Corporate Social Investment, Supplier Development, and Enterprise Development, amplifying their impact.

Review and update digital platform policies: Ensuring fairness for all stakeholders in the gig economy requires re-assessing the policies governing digital platforms. This step is essential to creating an equitable and balanced environment.

In conclusion, the Fourth Industrial Revolution offers South Africa an opportunity to explore new economic horizons. To benefit from this era of transformation, we must do more than just recognise modern work practices; we must empower our people with the crucial skills they need to navigate the changing economy successfully.


Abaguquli4IR is a company dedicated to equipping individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to generate income and contribute to economic transformation.


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