What it means to Freelance in Africa

Freelancing in Africa

The employment problems of university graduates have increased in the 21st century. A retrospective analysis shows that another 30–40 years ago, there was a state distribution of graduates, and the students were confident of their future employment.

In connection with the changes that have taken place in the country, young people in the 21st century have more opportunities and ways to integrate into society.

Still, the same situation has led to the erection of certain barriers to employment. This article is devoted to studying this form of self-employment of the population, dubbed Freelancing.

A freelancer or a free worker is a term characterizing a person who is not employed permanently for a specific employer in the long term.

Freelancers often offer their services on specialized online resources and seek jobs through newspaper ads or word of mouth.

In some cases, freelancers are represented by a company or temporary agency that resells freelance work to customers (a form of outsourcing).

Others work independently or use professional associations or websites to get jobs. Freelancing also allows people to get a higher level of employment in isolated communities.

Relationship between freelancing and MSMEs

Due to the introduction of new technologies, talented professionals can now farm out their expertise and experience to companies and business owners without necessarily having fixed employment with them.

This is especially seen with MSMEs that do not yet have the financial muscle to hire full-time staff, so they prefer to have short-term contracts with freelancers.

Aided by technology, remote working has become very common in Africa. Professionals in industries such as web development, research, writing, and consultancies prefer to have online spaces rather than physical offices.

Now that MSMEs have also decided to use the online marketplace, it has been a great convenience to them and the freelancers.

Advantages of freelancing to MSMEs

  1. Special expertise and flexibility

Hiring freelancers allows a business owner to get the best skill set at any time they want. In addition, freelancers are usually available on very short notice. They may also be able to complete some tasks that full-time employees may not be able to complete.

2. Reduced risk

Technically, freelancers are not company employees. This, therefore, means that the company does not have risks that they have with other employees. If a freelancer is not meeting the company’s expectations, it is easier to terminate their employment.

3. Reduced costs

Hiring freelancers instead of full-time workers helps an employer reduce costs since they can forgo the benefits they have to pay full-time employees.

Furthermore, most freelancers work from home and would therefore not require office space which would help the business owners save on costs again.

4. Large market

Working with freelancers allows you to access a large market and from anywhere in the world. This is different from full-time workers who have to be located within your reach to come to work.

Disadvantages of freelancing to MSMEs

Hiring freelancers can be disadvantageous to companies because:

  • It can be challenging to get a candidate who meets your expectations and who works diligently.

  • They could disappear on the business owner. Since there isn’t direct communication, it is easy for a freelancer to go, leaving the business owner stranded with nothing to do.

  • They may not be as loyal as regular workers since they have many clients they are already working for and could therefore fail to put in enough effort towards building the business owner’s company.

General problems faced by Freelancers in Africa

  • Finding enough work- One of the biggest challenges for freelancers is maintaining a continuous flow of work. Getting clients to give them work is challenging, and sometimes clients disappear.

  • Instability- Most African freelancers have to deal with inconsistency and instability when it comes to getting jobs

  • Distractions and time management- Most freelancers work from home. This creates room for many distractions and is a great challenge.

  • Internet connection- In most parts of Africa, there is an unstable internet connection. This poses a great challenge to freelancers since they mostly work online.

  • Payment methods- Many payment methods are now available online. However, some of them have issues, and African freelancers sometimes face problems when it comes to withdrawing and sending money.

Top 5 freelancing skills in Africa:

  1. Web and mobile development

  2. Research

  3. Data entry

  4. Graphics designing

  5. Consultancy

Here’s why Freelancing is becoming popular in Africa.

1. Lack of jobs

Youths are graduating out of tertiary institutions only to be met by lack of employment. As a result, many of them opt for freelancing.

2. Lower charges

African freelancers charge way less than those from the other continents. Clients, therefore, prefer to contact them rather than contract other freelancers from other continents.

3. Internet and globalization

Digitization and the internet have relatively flattened the global labor market and allowed employers to hire workers from almost any corner of the world.

This, in turn, has allowed many Africans to leverage their skills, knowledge, and lower cost of living to capture a slice of the global digital economy.


Today, among all the unemployed, every third is a young specialist with a higher or secondary vocational education. Graduates’ ideas about future work are only half the time justified to one degree or another.

Young people finishing school do not fully understand the proper professional activity.

In the educational process, it is necessary to pay more attention to form ideas about their future profession following the situation in the labor market.

Freelancing, therefore, has come as a relief for both unemployed youth and small business owners.