Why Tanzanians Struggle To Find Jobs In Digital Platforms Like Upwork ?

Why Tanzanians Struggle To Find Jobs In Digital Platforms Like Upwork ?

The narrative out there is that Africa is the next frontier for almost everything. And it is true. The question is what young professionals in the continent are doing about it? 

In 2019 Mohammad Amir Anwar of the University of Edinburgh estimated that there were 120,000 African workers on Upwork, the continent’s most popular platform—fewer than in the Philippines. Most did NOT seem to be making any money. The situation for tanzanian digital freelancers is grim, 

Julius P. Kessy, a digital entrepreneur from Tanzania, does not only speak Swahili, he makes money out of it. He is Tanzania’s top-rated English-to-Swahili translator on Upwork, according to a list posted by the platform. The list featured 27 top-rated EN-SW translators but there were only FOUR Tanzanians and TWELVE Kenyans!.

On why there are far fewer EN-SW Tanzanian freelancers on Upwork compared to Kenyans, Julius had this to say:

“Tanzanian youth need to be proactive. I’ve met clients who believe native Swahili is spoken in Kenya. While the owners of the language “Tanzanians” are sleeping on the opportunity. Tanzanians seeing this should wake up and tap into it.”

Dear young professionals in Tanzania, and Africa, projects are being launched in the continent. Whether you’re a language expert, social media manager, graphic designer, or software developer — you can be part of the growing digital economy in the continent.

Africa is filled with abundance! 

Here are Top Five Comments Made On Why There Are Few Tanzanian EN-SW Translators On Upwork.

Michael kapinga.

“We are living in a selfish society where everyone wants to be on top of each other, unlike Kenyans and Nigerians who live in a brotherhood society.  Additionally, Tanzanian youth are very lazy. Most do not like to stress themselves by looking for solutions.

For example, I have been sharing tips on Twitter about my experiences using Upwork and other freelancing platforms, as well as how to be successful as a freelancer. What I noticed is that most people need to be taught how to register themselves and cannot take the liberty of even scraping resources from the internet.

We will keep on discussing these things until youth’s mindset changes. It is a shame”.

Tonnie Mangu.

“Tanzania tatizo letu liko sehemu moja tu ukiachilia mbali “Penye miti mingi hapana wajenzi” – Social platforms tumezifanya ni za kuweka picha zetu na familia zetu, self-recording short clip video, umbea na zaidi kulike page without any piloted plan. Zama hizi tumezifanya za kujiskia kujiposti tu ili watu wa-like picha yako, then what?

Acha tuzidiwe, kujifunza social digital issues hatutaki, wacha tusahabikie Simba na yanga tu Sie… Kama hauamini, nenda insta tangaza kuwa unaanzisha program ya kufundsha digital economy na pia utangaze unagroup la discussion ya kuchambua Mpira wa hapa home uone wateja ni group lipi”.

David James.

“As an outsider looking into both Kenya and Tanzania I believe you are misjudging the situation. I have looked for and hired speakers and teachers of Kiswahili and have ended up with only Tanzanians in the shortlist!! Similarly, I have worked in the MSME sector in both Nairobi and DSM and I would not say there is a big difference between micro-entrepreneurs in either country.

Offcourse, I have come across laid-back students and graduates in both countries complaining of lack of government support for ‘ajira’ but in reality, I simply ignore them and move on to talk with those with positive growth mindsets of which there are ample examples in both countries. I make no distinction between KES and TZS or even UGX. I have no experience of Nigeria so I will let others comment on that comparative”.

Bryan Mamuya.

“I’ve been having hard time understanding how Upwork works somebody please enlighten me, I took an assignment once but I got stuck. Why? simply because as soon as I got into a conversation with the person who posted the assignment it really felt like I was talking to a robot and not an actual person so I decided to quit!”.

For more insight follow the conversations on this post

8 Steps To Find Your First Client As A Freelancer Within 10 Days

8 Steps To Find Your First Client As A Freelancer Within 10 Days

Have you just graduated from UDSM and don’t know what to do next? Still at SAUT or any college and feel like the future of employment is uncertain? Don’t sit with your skills; get started with freelancing.

Online freelancing may be a mere story because it’s not a common way of working in Tanzania. But the story of Baraka Mafole, a successful freelance digital marketer, may be an example of this new way of employment.

Here are steps to get you started:

1. Choose one monetizable skill

There are many high-value skills that will get you paid in 2023 and beyond. According to Upwork’s In-Demand Skills 2023, the top skills businesses seek from skilled freelancers are found in Technology, Marketing, Customer Service, Accounting & Consulting, and Design & Creative skills. See the infographic below 👇🏼

To start your freelancer career, pick any of the skills you’re interested in, study about it online and start charging for it as a service.

2. Create a mock portfolio

A portfolio is simply a collection of your work, such as graphics, social media captions, website mockups, videos, etc. If you haven’t done any work, we call it a Mock Portfolio. 

No one wants to hire a freelancer without knowing what to expect; a mock portfolio will speak volumes about the quality of your work, more so than a CV. Have a sample of your personal work that you did to showcase your abilities and qualities to prospective clients.

3. Create your offer

Consider the service you provide to your client and make an offer on how much you will charge for that particular service. Make sure your offer meets the quality of work a client expects from you.

4. Plan your pricing

To get a base for what to charge per project, look at the pricing of freelancers who offer similar services to yours. Don’t undercharge or overcharge; charge according to the value of the work you are putting in.

5. Set Work Terms

Determine how you are going to provide your service in terms of payment model, delivery time, reviews, and other important requirements. All of this should be written into a contract to establish a clear working environment and understand the boundaries of both parties.

6. Reach out to 10 people every day

Who are the people that you’re looking for to use your freelancing service? Where can you find them? Most are found on social media, where you can send them personalized emails, DMs, or a direct call and ask for a chance to pitch your offer.

An example of a reach-out message with your offer:

Hello Shukuru, I came across Tanzlite Digital on Instagram and noticed that you guys haven’t posted for months. I’m reaching out to see if you may need a hand on keeping your page updated with engaging educational, humorous, and even entertaining posts around your industry.

I am just starting my freelancing journey and here is my mock portfolio.

If the idea of keeping your page updated sounds great to you, I can do that for you for an entry fee of Tsh XXXXX per month. Let me know what you think.

7. Follow-Up and Book Calls

After reaching out, make sure to follow up and create a connection. Ask them for a response to know where they stand regarding your offer. Don’t get tired of checking them out.

8. Repeat the process

It won’t take more than 10 days of constant dedication to steps 6 and 7 before you find your potential client. Keep revising other steps whenever necessary to upgrade your profile after getting your first client.

In Conclusion

The job market in Tanzania has become intensely competitive. Everyone is a graduate these days. You have two choices; find a normal job in a company (if you’re lucky), or put yourself in the open market (the internet) where there are millions of people willing to pay for your services. 

Above all, you need determination, consistency, and a commitment to continuous learning.

Thank you for reading. I am Geraldina Komba, I write about the digital economy, freelancing and personal branding.

8 Of The Best Emerging Career Opportunities in Africa

8 Of The Best Emerging Career Opportunities in Africa

The 21st century is the African century. This is because Africa has the fastest growing population of youth, which makes it the youngest continent in the world. By 2050, over one-third of the global working-age population will be residing in Africa. That’s why many people view Africa as a potential gold mine for job opportunities. 

But how can you take advantage of this trend? What are some of the best emerging career opportunities in Africa? Let’s find out!

Data Analysis and Data Science

There’s been a surge of interest in data science among African companies. Many African businesses are seeking to leverage data to improve performance. There are a few reasons why data science is crucial in Africa. 

First, many African countries rely heavily on agriculture. With the increased adoption of technology in agriculture, farmers will need data scientists to help them integrate sensors and other technology into their operations. Data science is also important in African cities, which are rapidly growing. As urban areas expand, there’s a growing need for data scientists who can help city planners make smarter decisions.

3D Printing and Manufacturing

As Africa develops, new manufacturing industries will emerge. 3D printing is one technology that’s likely to grow in popularity. Many African entrepreneurs are using 3D printing to manufacture goods that they sell online and locally. Some of the goods being produced by African manufacturers include toys, fashion accessories, medical devices, and even houses. 

As online shopping increases across Africa, industries like 3D printing will likely see an uptick in demand. If you’re looking for a career in manufacturing, it’s a good idea to get a handle on 3D printing technology.

Digital Marketing and e-Commerce

In the next decade, more Africans will access the internet on a regular basis than any other continent in the world. The number of internet users in Africa is expected to increase from 472 million in 2019 to over 1 billion by 2025. That’s why it’s a good idea to explore career options related to digital marketing and e-commerce. 

These industries will likely experience significant growth in the coming years. If you’re interested in these types of careers, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the latest trends in digital marketing and e-commerce. You can find free online courses to help you learn more about these skills, or approach a marketing agency to learn and gain practical experience.

Development of Smart Cities

As Africa’s urban population increases, so will the demand for smart cities. A smart city uses a combination of sensors, data analytics, and technology to improve the efficiency and quality of life for residents. 

Many African nations are beginning to implement smart city initiatives. If you’re interested in working in the urban planning and design industry, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with smart city initiatives in Africa. This will help you stay informed about the latest developments in the industry.

Robotics and Automation

Robotics and automation are expanding in Africa. As the economy grows, African businesses are increasingly investing in automation. This is because automation is a cost-effective and efficient way to improve business performance. 

If you’re interested in a career related to robotics and automation, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the latest developments in this industry. You can do this by visiting robotics conferences and exhibitions.

Sustainable Mobility

As African cities develop and become more densely populated, they’ll need more sustainable transportation options. In many African cities, public transportation is not as effective as it could be, which is why many people rely on personal vehicles. 

As cities become more crowded and traffic congestion becomes a growing problem, sustainable public transportation will become increasingly important. If you want to leverage career opportunities in sustainable mobility, you might consider working with the public transportation department in an African city.

Environment and Climate Change

Africa is experiencing serious environmental challenges, especially related to climate change. Many African countries experience significant droughts and flooding due to climate change. If you’re interested in a career related to the environment and climate change, you can find work in Africa. To learn more about how you can get involved in this type of work, visit websites like the United Nations Environment Programme or the African Union Environment.

Agritech and Food Supply Chain

As the population of Africa continues to grow, so will the demand for food. In many African countries, the food supply chain is not ideal. To meet the needs of a growing population, African businesses are investing in agritech and food supply chain solutions. If you’re interested in a career in agritech, you can find work in Africa. To learn more about how you can get involved in this type of work, visit websites like the Alliance for Food Security in Africa.


In the next decade, more Africans will have access to the internet than any other continent in the world. As the population of Africa grows, there will be an increased demand for new technologies and career opportunities. 

It is a smart idea to pick a few skills among the merging ones so you can compete int the job market. Thank you for reading. Share this article a young African career aspirant.

African Freelancers in the Global Gig Economy: Is There Hope?

African Freelancers in the Global Gig Economy: Is There Hope?

Africa is home to a growing number of freelancers who provide services online. These digital workers enable Africans to participate in the global gig economy, which is expected to grow in the coming years. As the gig economy grows, concerns remain about how it will impact African freelancers and their ability to compete with non- Africans.

These digital platforms have enabled more people globally to become freelancers and offer services online at a lower cost than traditional businesses. The number of African freelancers has grown as a result of these developments, especially among millennials in several countries.

However, there are many barriers that continue to limit opportunities for African freelancers. Let’s take a closer look at these issues and what can be done about them.

What is the gig economy?

A gig economy refers to the practice of individuals finding work through online platforms, with little or no commitment from the employer. The term “gig” refers to the short-term nature of many of these tasks, which can include anything from freelance writing to online coding.

According to a McKinsey Global Institute report, gig work is expected to grow globally as a result of several factors. These include an aging population, which will reduce the number of people working in the formal sector, as well as an increase in the number of women working.

Additionally, advancements in technology have made it easier for people to work remotely — including freelancers — and enabled them to earn more by serving a broader client base.

African freelancer demographics

Freelancers in Africa are a relatively young group, with 46% of them under 35 years old. Millennials represent a larger portion of the African freelancer demographic than any other generation. This is partly due to the fact that millennials are more likely to work in the digital economy and are comfortable with technology as well as with freelance work.

Freelancers in Africa earn an average of $8 an hour, with Liberians earning the highest average rate of $14 an hour and Nigerians earning the lowest average of $4 an hour. Freelancers in Africa hail from a wide range of occupation groups, including health and education professionals, professional and technical workers, and business and finance workers.

The majority of African freelancers work in the business and financial services industry, with a smaller number of freelancers working in the health and education industry.

Rising demand for digital services

The growing demand for digital services has made online freelancing platforms, such as UpWork and Freelancer.com, more attractive to Africans. In fact, Africans have been some of the most active users of these platforms.

As more Africans participate in these online platforms, they provide an opportunity for Africans to earn more and gain a foothold in an industry that has been historically off limits to them.

However, digital services face several challenges. Africans are not the only ones who want to participate in the digital economy. The gig economy has become a global phenomenon, with people from other regions migrating to Africa and competing with local digital services.

Concerns for African freelancers in the gig economy

The digital economy has created new challenges for freelancers in Africa as it has elsewhere. Many Africans have complained that they have to wait longer than non-African freelancers to secure a job on online platforms.

We have also heard from African freelancers that they feel they are asked to work for less than non-African freelancers. The growing presence of non-African freelancers on digital platforms has raised the question of whether Africans will be able to compete against them.

Freelancers in Africa tend to be younger and earn less than non-African freelancers, who may have more experience and a larger client base.


The gig economy has created opportunities for Africans to earn money and participate in the global marketplace. However, the growth of this industry has also raised concerns over how African freelancers will be able to compete with non-African freelancers.

In order to tackle these issues, African freelancers need to build networks, collaborate, and continue to innovate. They also need to be patient, as it may take some time before they are able to earn as much as they would like.