digital transformation is creating a new work ecosystem in Kenya
Along with the boom in remote working and entrepreneurship, digital technologies will surely open new avenues for Kenyan workers in the future. [Photo Credit: Christina / wocintechchat.com on Unsplash ]

Digital tools were already commonplace before 2020. Still, Covid-19 took the Kenyan digital transformation to the next level. The adoption of digital technologies flourished in several sectors of the economy. Purchasing habits adjusted, as Kenyan e-commerce grew by 88%. But the lasting effects of Covid-19 were nowhere as visible as in the workplace.

Lockdowns and stay-at-home measures nudged many employers to be more innovative. A report by McKinsey & Company shows that companies adopted digital changes up to 20 times faster than they would have before Covid-19. And the definition of the workplace changed, too. When Coronavirus struck, organisations had to implement quick transition strategies. Remote working, thus, became the new normal.

As working from home spiked, companies adopted new tools to increase productivity. The rollout of business meetings platforms sped up, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. To reduce remote work fatigue, these platforms developed increasingly interactive features.

Recently, Microsoft even took a step further with the announcement of Mesh for Microsoft Teams. This corporate metaverse plans to reinvent remote reunions with fully animated, customized avatars and virtual workspaces powered by artificial intelligence. The American multinational announced its launch in the first half of 2022.

Yet, remote working didn’t entirely replace office life. According to a survey by Brighter Monday Kenya, most employees still prefer working from the office. Indeed, faulty internet connections and unstable power supply remain a hindrance in many homes. But digital access is set to improve in the coming years, as some tech giants are already committed to backing Africa’s digital transformation. In October 2021, for instance, tech giant Google announced a $1 billion plan to enable more affordable internet access and support African entrepreneurs.

Indeed, the office is no longer the sole definition of the workplace. Digital tools became a game-changer for small businesses. They also provided a creative drive for inventive entrepreneurs. As such, the number of self-employed workers online grew exponentially throughout the continent since 2020.

In Kenya, digital workers now make approximately 5% of the total working population. Most of them turned to the internet to increase their profits and expand their business activities. But in the long run, this new digital work ecosystem could also be a means of tackling social issues, such as high youth unemployment rates.

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Online opportunities now range from virtual assistance to copywriting and digital marketing. Content creating is also on the rise. With nothing but a phone or a computer, content creators found new ways to monetise content. And these pioneers reshaped the media and marketing landscape.

Indeed, digital media are now the go-to platforms for advertising. Industries rely on influencers and content creators to help their products reach a larger audience. In Kenya, internet comedians such as Flaqo Raz paved the way for sponsored content.

But the recent years also saw a boom in iGaming as a means of income. Video game streaming spiked. So did professional gaming. From Tekken and Mortal Kombat to virtual football games, lucrative eSports competitions have drawn more and more Kenyan gamers. As early as 2019, leading communications company Safaricom even launched an annual mobile gaming competition.

Gaming particularly blew up during the Covid-19 era. Within the first quarter of 2020, mobile gamers in Africa rose by 46% to reach 1.75 billion users per month. And by 2026, the gaming industry in Africa is expected to grow by 12% annually.

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The African continent is also one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for online casinos. With the closure of land-based casinos, online gámbling thrived during Covid-19. To appeal to more players, online casinos rolled out increasingly rewarding offers such as no wagering bonuses.

This type of bonus ranges from free spins to welcome bonuses. No wagering bonuses allow players to skip out on stringent wagering requirements. As a result, gamblers can easily cash out their winnings and enjoy exciting card games and machine slots with less risk. And the online gaming trend is not dying out soon.

Indeed, Kenya numbers among the continent’s top game developers, along with Uganda and Nigeria. Gaming platforms are one of many tools that are already redefining the traditional work environment. Along with the boom in remote working and entrepreneurship, digital technologies will surely open new avenues for Kenyan workers in the future.

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