Caribou Digital, a research and advisory firm, has released its latest publication, The Platform Livelihoods Project.

The publication is a pioneering collection of studies on pervasive digital marketplaces, some conducted in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and others with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The study examines the digital economy and highlights the need for a safer, more inclusive environment. It advocates for policymakers, companies, and other players in the ecosystem to leverage the study to drive investment into the future of the digital workplace. The research explores the experiences of over 700 people across Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, and Indonesia and the multifaceted nature of how they earn a living online as workers and sellers on platforms.

Commenting on the newly released publication, Jonathan Donner, Senior Director for Research at Caribou Digital said, “This book stands as a testament to the collaborative efforts of an incredible array of contributors. Taking place over four years – hundreds of participants, dozens of researchers, organisations, and foundation partners united for an astounding research project, offering insights into the experiences of millions across Africa and Indonesia earning a living on digital platforms.”

The findings reveal the personal accounts of marginalized groups such as women and people with disabilities, who navigate significant barriers in leveraging digital platforms for livelihood opportunities. In the interviews conducted, women from Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria shared the obstacles they encountered, which included harassment, pay disparities, and access to essential resources like devices and bank accounts.

Tade Aina, Chief Impact and Research Officer at Mastercard Foundation said, “This publication opens a window into the lived digital experiences of young people, enabling us to leverage these insights to co-create programs that align with their aspirations. It also calls on stakeholders to partner in strengthening the digital economy ecosystem to foster safe, reliable and inclusive economic growth.”

The Platform Livelihoods Project stands as the foremost exploration of how Africans and Indonesians are shaping regional labour markets through digital platforms. The research draws upon the collaborative efforts of a network comprising 40 researchers and practitioners from esteemed institutions worldwide, including inABLE, Qhala, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Lagos Business School, the University of Ghana, Kilimo Source, and Habitus Insight.