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How African Countries Rank In The Global Online Freelance Workforce


December 12, 2019

One of the more common pieces of evidence of the rise of the gig economy is found in the proliferation of freelance jobs (particularly online freelance work).

While it’s hard to keep tabs on actual data from the gig economy in general, let alone the online freelance marketplace, institutions like Analytics Help, thankfully dedicate a lot of time and resources to keeping track of online freelancers.

Last year, a report titled “Global Internet Freelance Market Overview for 2018” was released by Analytics Help after the conclusion of research which took data from World Bank and online freelancing sites into account.

The research basically studied the population of online freelancers across the globe, while also giving consideration to what they (the freelancers) do, and which countries they are from.

From the data, it could be seen that the United States has the highest number of freelancers – 558,000, of which 13.90 percent or 77,000 had been active in the 3 months prior. 

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The second-highest number of internet freelancers can be found in India with 145,000 freelancers (of which 14 percent were active at least 3 months before the report was released. The Philippines came third on the list with 162,000 freelancers. Pakistan and Bangladesh came 4th and 5th respectively.

So Which African Countries Have The Highest Number Of Online Freelancers?

With a total of 18,042 online freelance workers, of which 14.08 percent were deemed active, Kenya was the highest-ranking African country in the Global Internet Freelance Marketplace Overview for 2018 — coming in 15th place on the global rankings.

South Africa ranked 20th globally, with the study identifying a total of 12,354 online freelancers from Africa’s most-industrialised economy.

Countries like Nigeria (31st with 7,897 freelancers), Morocco (33rd with 7,553 freelancers), and Tunisia (43rd with 5,884 freelancers) made up the rest of the top five African countries with the greatest population of online freelance workers.

The Top 10 African Countries With The Highest Number Of Online Freelancers

  1. Kenya

Position in world ranking: 15th

No. of freelancers: 18,042

No. of active freelancers: 2,540

% Active freelancers: 14.08%

2. South Africa

Position in world ranking: 20th

No. of freelancers: 12,354

No. of active freelancers: 1,442

% Active freelancers: 11.67%

3. Nigeria

Position in world ranking: 31st

No. of freelancers: 7,897

No. of active freelancers: 1,317

% Active freelancers: 16.68%

4. Morocco

Position in world ranking: 33rd

No. of freelancers: 7,553

No. of active freelancers: 735

% Active freelancers: 9.73%

5. Tunisia

Position in world ranking: 43rd

No. of freelancers: 5,884

No. of active freelancers: 449

% Active freelancers: 7.63%

6. Algeria

Position in world ranking: 54th

No. of freelancers: 3,629

No. of active freelancers: 328

% Active freelancers: 9.04%

7. Ghana

Position in world ranking: 77th

No. of freelancers: 1,625

No. of active freelancers: 136

% Active freelancers: 8.37%

8. Uganda

Position in world ranking: 88th

No. of freelancers: 1,175

No. of active freelancers: 83

% Active freelancers: 7.06%

9. Madagascar

Position in world ranking: 94th

No. of freelancers: 911

No. of active freelancers: 197

% Active freelancers: 21.62%

10. Cameroon

Position in world ranking: 98th

No. of freelancers: 770

No. of active freelancers: 108

% Active freelancers: 14.03%

Analytics Help maintains that the data above is based on publicly available data from World Bank and freelancing sites. Also, the analysis considers only digital freelancers who work via online marketplaces. Offline or independent freelancers are not included in this analysis.

On the subject of how popular internet freelancing is per 1000 people, the data shows that freelancing as a career is most spread in Serbia where there are 3.52 freelancers per 1000 people living there.

Serbia is followed by Macedonia with 3.41 freelancers per 1000 people, Jamaica with 2.43 people and Armenia with 2.18 people out of 1000 being freelancers.

The United States ranks 5th with 1.72 freelancers per 1000 people while Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina rank 6th and 7th with 1.58 and 1.55 freelancers per 1000 people.

From the data, it is also seen that digital freelancing is most spread in the Balkan peninsula (Europe), Eastern Europe, and among English speaking countries like the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, and Ireland.

Apart from these countries, freelancing is also widely spread (compared to the country’s population) in Portugal, Iceland, Philippines, Armenia, and Georgia (country).

Countries like India, Russia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh — although with a high number of freelancers — when compared against their population, the number of freelancers per 1000 people is relatively low. So it could be said that freelancing is not that popular there.

Looking at the most popular categories among freelancers, the data showed that web, mobile and software development, design and creative, writing, and admin support are the most popular categories in which freelancers choose to specialize and work.

Featured Image Courtesy: Freepik

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