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Public discussion: The future of online platform labour in Kenya

03 November 2022

On 9 November 2022, the Digital Transformation Center Kenya of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) invite you to a public panel discussion on the future of online platform work in Kenya. BBC Africa Moderator Bonney Tunya will discuss with Associate Prof. Dr. Kutoma J. Wakunuma (De Montfort University), Bill Mutoro (Deputy General Secretary of the Transport and Allied Workers Union Kenya), Zilpher Owiti (Director of Capacity Development & Literacy, ICT Authority Kenya) and Dr. Shikoh Gitau (Chief Executive Officer, Qhala) the challenges and opportunities for a sustainable and inclusive Kenyan gig economy.

In the past few years, online platform work has transformed the way people work and find employment in Kenya. Worth 109 million dollars, the booming and globalised gig economy has attracted over 35000 workers in various fields such as graphic design, customer support as well as writing and translation work. It promises local workers high mobility and global opportunities, but also poses some major problems. As Dr. Kutoma J. Wakunuma points out: “A majority of workers are attracted to the gig economy because it is touted to provide them with independence that they would not have in formal employment.” In this regard, her colleague Dr Tom Kwanya adds: “Despite these advantages, online gig workers face many challenges among which is stiff competition for online jobs in local markets as well as international markets, lack of stable income, low job security, and lack of a safety net such as health care benefits and pensions.” The two researchers have written a study recommending platform regulation approaches that are suitable to nurture, mainstream and sustain the national gig economy.

To address these challenges and find novel sustainable solutions, all interested parties are cordially welcome to attend the panel discussion on site or via livestream:


Workers’ Rights and Platforms’ Responsibility
Wednesday, November 9th 2022 | PrideInn Azure Hotel Nairobi, Kenya
Public panel discussion | 2:00 – 4:30 pm (EAT)
Please register for attendance on site via the event page


The panel discussion is based on a study by the two researchers, the results of which will be presented on the same day in an invite-only multi-stakeholder dialogue with representatives from different sectors. The research and events are based on findings of the project Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Global Digital Transformation (SET) and the GIZ intervention on the Kenyan gig economy. As part of the Global Programme on Digital Transformation, GIZ implements the flagship project ‘Fair Work in the Gig Economy’ on behalf of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It aims to promote fair work in the gig economy at the level of workers, platforms, and other key stakeholders of the digital ecosystem.

Associate Prof. Dr. Wakunuma, Prof. Dr. Kwanya and the Digital Transformation Center Kenya are available for background discussions and press interviews upon request. Please contact us at any time for enquiries.

Contact for press
Salomé Eggler |

About the research project Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Global Digitalisation (SET)
The work of the Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Global Digitalisation (SET) research project is carried out in ten partner countries in cooperation with the Digital Transformation Centers (DTCs) of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Together, local issues are addressed, stakeholders are identified and solutions are developed and communicated within the framework of target-group-specific formats. The SET research project runs until April 2023 and is funded by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

About the Digital Transformation Center Kenya
The Digital Transformation Center (DTC) Kenya is an initiative of German Development Cooperation co-financed by the European Union (EU) established to support Kenya’s digital transition towards a sustainable and human-centred digital economy and society.  The goal of the DTC, on the one hand, is to strengthen the country’s digital economy. It does so by supporting the local digital innovation ecosystem, (up)skilling a tech savvy workforce, assisting SMEs in their digital transformation, fostering data-sharing for value creation, and working towards decent job creation in the gig economy. On the other hand, the DTC seeks to strengthen an open and inclusive digital society. In this realm, it explores how emerging technologies like AI can be used for socioeconomic benefit, builds capacities on data privacy to increase consumer trust in digital products and services and works on digitising public service delivery in a user-centric way.

Across all its activities, the DTC focuses on bridging digital divides so that everyone can equally benefit from the Internet. Likewise, it strives to catalyse the twin green & digital transition to help decarbonize the Kenyan economy.

About the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society
The Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) researches the development of the Internet from a societal perspective in order to better understand the accompanying digitalisation of all areas of life. As the first research institute in Germany with a focus on the Internet and society, HIIG has developed an understanding that emphasises the embedding of digital innovations in social processes. Based on this transdisciplinary expertise and as part of the Global Network of Interdisciplinary Internet & Society Research Centers, HIIG aims to develop a European response to digital structural change.

Frederik Efferenn

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