Jobtech Alliance

Mercy Corps and BFA Global are accelerating inclusive jobtech platforms in Africa. We utilize the potential of technology to create, match and improve jobs for 15,000 youth while building an enabling ecosystem to ensure jobtech equitably provides decent work for millions of Africans. The Jobtech Alliance will accelerate early-stage jobtech small and growing businesses (SGBs) and stimulate product innovation and market expansion in more established jobtech SGBs. This will enhance the potential of these platforms to create jobs at scale and stimulate inclusive product and business model innovations.

Jobtech Alliance Accelerating Inclusive Work in Africa

Jobtech (digital platforms which connect people to work opportunities that build their livelihoods) has the greatest potential to drastically and inclusively enhance work for African youth. However, the ecosystem is nascent – few small and growing businesses (SGBs) have scaled successfully in this space, and the learning and community infrastructure around is not consolidated (particularly compared to sectors like FinTech).

At the same time, discussions with youth in many African countries point to a strong desire to work in the digital sector. Young people strive to have more access to digital tools and proficiency to take part in digitally-enabled employment opportunities. 

With CFYE funding, the Jobtech Alliance will work with eight early-stage jobtech innovators and 20 established jobtech SGBs in several CFYE target countries to create and improve 15,000 decent jobs and equip the sector to create millions more. Mercy Corps and BFA Global will achieve this through venture-building support, new product development, and support to scale services in new geographies. In addition, the programme will strengthen the knowledge base and ecosystem for inclusive jobtech in Africa, including building out the funding and investment space for the sector. This will be matched by complementary activities funded by the Conrad Hilton Foundation (focused on refugees in Uganda) and Sida (focused on youth in Ethiopia).

Planned Impact

Tackling Gender Barriers

A foundational component of the programme is working with SGBs to overcome structural barriers women face. The programme will: (1) Understand the different needs/ barriers both young women and employers see in hiring women; (2) Uphold inclusivity as a key criterion for SGB selection; (3) Work in sectors that are likely to have higher female participation (e.g., digital commerce space, caregiving, and healthcare); (4) Work with platforms to develop product, operational or business model innovations which enhance women’s participation (e.g., marketing campaigns targeted at women, introducing new safeguarding models, or developing services that meet women’s needs); and (5) Capture what works and doesn’t through ongoing learning.

Jobtech has significant potential to eliminate gender-based roadblocks in employment.

Many jobtech platforms are built in male-focused sectors. According to the ILO, less than 10% of delivery riders globally and less than 1 in 62 computer programmers are women. To close this gap, Jobtech Alliance carries out gender-responsive startup sourcing and selection. We seek to better understand the challenges for women founders and prioritise startups with women founders to improve women’s resilience.

To learn more, check out the Jobtech Alliance website here.

Inclusion is one of the main pillars of successful hiring. Research shows that diversity and inclusion in the workplace lead to a positive employee experience, more creativity, and higher retention, among other organizational benefits. Recognizing women and the value they can bring to your organization is a great starting point in practicing inclusion.

Young people need fair opportunities to meaningfully participate in the labour market and thus in life. For this meaningful participation, private-public partnerships become essential. Still, private entities have an especially catalytic role in paving the way for a more inclusive and youth-centered work landscape.