It’s been over a decade since Uber first launched its ride-hailing app in San Francisco, and within the years since, the notion of the gig financial system has come to outline a platform-based freelance employment mannequin that takes Uber as its archetype.
But gig work has developed: different platforms have entered the market, governments have imposed laws and the idea has been tailored for different industries apart from ride-hailing.
See additionally: Uber Files Leak May Push Forward EU Gig Worker Legislation
In rising markets throughout Africa, gig platforms have boosted employment and proceed to develop financial alternatives for tens of millions of self-employed employees, freelancers and impartial contractors.
But many of those employees are underbanked, with restricted entry to credit score or financial savings merchandise which can be important to maintaining enterprise afloat in difficult occasions or enabling micro-entrepreneurs to pursue new alternatives.
Tatenda Furusa, co-founder of ImaliPay, first noticed the difficulties gig employees face accessing monetary instruments when his Uber ran out of gas mid-journey as a result of the motive force’s cost had been delayed.
As he advised PYMNTS, the incident raised a query: “How do we solve the financial problems or challenges that these freelancers face in Africa?”
That reply got here by means of the launch of ImaliPay, a Nigerian FinTech agency which goals to be a one-stop-shop for the area’s underbanked gig financial system employees in want of productiveness enhancing and monetary providers resembling financial savings, credit score and insurance coverage.
Read extra: Nigerian FinTech ImaliPay Raises $3M in Seed Round to Bring Financial Services to Gig Workers
To do that, the startup takes a two-pronged answer that connects to customers at one finish with a cell app, and to gig platforms on the different thanks to an utility programming interface (API).
“We play a very good role as a middle layer for both [sides] not to get actively involved, since they’re not nine-to-five employees and ImaliPay sits in between as a conduit to allow them to access these services,” Furusa defined.
Gig Economy: The Future of Work
On the one hand, trendy gig employees usually function on a number of platforms, giving them the chance to earn extra money and select which earnings streams are most advantageous to them at any given time. Having entry to an app that’s linked to the varied gig platforms and never tied to any single service means they will entry monetary providers with out having to forfeit flexibility and selection, Furusa famous.
On the opposite hand, the ImaliPay API creates a more healthy ecosystem for gig employees whereas the platforms get to preserve the arms-length contractor-contractee relationship that underpins the gig mannequin, he added.
What’s extra, with an API-centered method, ImaliPay can higher confirm gig employees to provide them in-kind loans within the type of a purchase now, pay later (BNPL) product linked to the gig work in query.
Related: EU Gig Workers Could Be Reclassified as Employees
“Show us who you work for, your income statements, then [ImaliPay] provides you a service tied to the nature of your gig, […] you can get access to BNPL fuel, spare parts, phones. And it’s all through a closed-loop ledger, which shows how much you’ve earned and how you can use that ledger to borrow, transact or save,” Furusa stated, explaining the method.
The answer is easy however efficient. ImaliPay has information from its platform-facing API that retains danger low, and the BNPL mannequin implies that debtors “are more likely to repay because they want to come back to that source to get another BNPL for the gig, which keeps them on the road and keeps them earning income,” he identified.
ImaliPay is at present accessible to gig employees in three African markets — Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa — every of which comes with its personal socio-economic challenges and alternatives.
But general, Furusa argued that the gig financial system is “the future of work globally,” and shifting ahead, ImaliPay will stay “well positioned as the de facto financial sidekick and social net social safety net partner for gig workers across the continent.”
And with new gig-style work fashions cropping up in industries from banking to hospitality, his prediction might nicely show to be proper.
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