Google has launched Task Mate, a crowdsourcing app that lets people use smartphones to do tasks and get paid, in Kenya. The tech company rolled out the beta version of Task Mate after a year-long experiment in the country, and is preparing to introduce it to other countries across the continent.

The pilot started in Kenya late last year and users were able to carry out different tasks including taking photos of plants for a research project carried out by Penn State University. ​​The app’s gigs are defined as either sitting or field tasks.

Task Mate joins a growing list of apps and services launched by Google that offer people payment for services carried out. They include a rewards app that lets people get paid for filling out surveys and local services ads that link businesses, at a fee, with clients within their vicinity.

Businesses posting tasks on the platform have the option of making it available to a select group of people or invite specific people to carry them out. In Kenya, users on the Task Mate platform access their earnings through mobile-money payment platform M-PESA.

The launch comes at a time when Google announced that it had disbursed Ksh. 1.1 billion (USD 10 million) in loans to help small businesses across Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa make economic recovery brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Google is disbursing the loans through Kiva, a San-Francisco based non profit lending organization.

With a higher internet penetration and connectivity, Africa’s digital economy is expected to grow as integration continues, offering newer growth opportunities as more people get connected. In sub-Saharan Africa, about 303 million, 28% of the population, are currently connected to the mobile internet according to the 2021 GSMA mobile economy report.

This number is expected to grow to about 40% by 2025, offering a bigger market to internet-based businesses and services such as Task Mate that are tapping internet connectivity and Africa’s youthful population.