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2021 was a daunting year for most African economies as governments grappled with the ripple effects of a devastating pandemic the year before. Many countries, including Nigeria, have experienced increased inflation and currency depreciation, leading to a rise in living standards as commodity and service prices skyrocketed amid a static income mix. People with only one source of income struggled to live comfortably through 2021 due to an increase in commodity prices over the same period in 2020.

With the emergence of a new Covid variant, coupled with a host of other economic challenges, it may take a while for most African economies to rebound to pre-pandemic times. By all indications, living standards will rise further in 2022 as consumers feel the pinch of rising inflation and interest rates.

These current realities emphasize the need for an additional source of income, or “a side-gig,” as people question the viability of surviving the current economic trends with no salary increase. Those who cannot afford to hop on the migration trend to the West are more concerned by this phenomenon. While many Africans are still unsure how to manage their finances this year, this article outlines opportunities for a side gig in 2022.

Africa’s vast lower-middle income class market

In most African economies, the growing number of lower-middle-income classes represents a potential market for small businesses. The World Bank defines lower-middle-income status as countries with a gross national income per capita of between $1,046 and $4,095. Last November, Bloomberg reported South Africa is headed towards a lower-middle-income status as its political and economic decline accelerated, putting the country at risk of becoming a lower-middle-income nation by 2028. 

World Bank data indicates Africa is home to 25 of the world’s 27 low-income countries, as well as nearly half of the world’s lower-middle-income economies, including Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco, Kenya, and Egypt. The informal sector, which includes the active participation of Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME), has proven to be the lifeline for such economies over the years. If Africans can begin to look inward to identify areas of need in their immediate societies and provide solutions, they could generate side gigs to improve their finances.

Evolved consumer preferences 

Many people, particularly the elderly, did not think they would become tech-savvy until the COVID-19 pandemic imposed a global lockdown in 2020. The stay-at-home restrictions forced people to rely on their gadgets for daily supplies. People learnt to use e-Commerce platforms, which offer an array of products and alternatives at a click compared to physical shopping. People began to try new things, picking up pocket-friendly and sustainable lifestyles. Consumers became more confident using electronic devices and sharing their data as the restrictions highlighted the benefits of technology.

The period showed how open people are to new ideas and products when necessary. With a thorough market survey, one can generate business ideas and solutions to meet the demand of Africa’s evolving tech-savvy consumer market. 

Rural-urban migration

As economies in the continent still struggle to gain a dignifying status, migration from rural locations to urban cities tend to have increased as people seek better living standards. An analysis by Migration Data Portal shows that ‘migration, whether internal or international, is one of the forces driving the growth of urbanization and bringing opportunities and challenges to cities, migrants and governments.’ 

This is a unique market that has been treated lightly in the continent. Compared to Europe and America, where governments make inclusive plans to accommodate migrants, African governments poorly prepare for the needs of migrants. This creates a vacuum in the provision of housing, employment, food and basic living necessities.

New migrants would need low-cost housing that offers daily, weekly or monthly rental plans. They would need daily wage employment in different sectors. Cheap fast-food spots that would eliminate the time and cost of cooking would be a lifesaver for them. More specifically, this group of people could benefit from a more affordable clothing market segment, among other things. With little money, one can start a business or partner with one that already caters to migrants.

Side gigs to consider in 2022 

Some side gigs to consider this year includes affiliate marketing, manufacturing, online course sale, importation, remote freelance jobs, coaching, telemarketing, home tutoring, hire-purchase, rentals, trading, investments, etcetera. All one needs to do is brainstorm, identify gaps in your immediate environment, and create monetizable solutions.

Written by Ishioma Emi

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