Annabel Schiff— Caribou Digital, and Isabelle CarboniCenfri

Although Kevin has a master’s degree in science and had been teaching ICT to secondary school students in Kenya for over 25 years, he scored just 61% on a digital skills test run by Cenfri. This test asked participants to research and digitally present a day trip to Nairobi for German tourists and order a pizza through a delivery app. Kevin only used Word in his presentation because he was uncomfortable using PowerPoint or Excel, he failed the pizza task because he neglected to download an app, and he struggled to complete…


The first confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported in Africa on 14th February; the virus has since spread across the continent with countries and governments responding through social distancing measures, curfews, and lockdowns. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the economy, with digital platforms far from exempt. Many platform businesses have suffered, and with that the livelihoods of platform workers, especially those that provide ride-hailing and domestic services or whose work relies on physical interactions.

In other parts of the world, while many platform-based businesses struggle to stay afloat, those that deliver groceries and other essentials have been in more…


By 2021 almost half of the world’s youth will be in Africa. The millions of young people entering the workforce each year will join millions of others searching for better livelihoods. The unemployment challenge, exacerbated by the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, is immense.

Over the past few years, Caribou Digital has focused on how digital platforms across Africa — from e-commerce to ride-hailing — are transforming markets and creating new opportunities for the self-employed, including youth, to earn a livelihood. However, young people often lack the skills needed to access these opportunities. Last year, with support…


By Annabel Schiff, Jessica Osborn and Akua Nyame-Mensah

For the last month, we’ve been speaking to platforms and platform workers in Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria to understand how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted their businesses and livelihoods. We spoke to 17 African digital platforms — from logistic companies to ride-hailing and domestic service platforms to e-commerce — and 12 gig-workers who rely on these platforms for their income.

We’ll soon be releasing our insights on how the pandemic has impacted both platforms and platform workers, as well as some thoughts on how to help build resilience both in and out…


By Annabel Schiff & Jessica Osborn

In a previous post Caribou Digital’s founder, Chris Locke, shared some ideas on how we see digital technologies addressing the immediate issues relating to Covid-19. Given our current focus on digital platforms, we’ve also been thinking about how digital tools could help lessen the impact of Covid-19 on the millions of workers in sub-Saharan Africa who rely on a growing number of e-commerce platforms, ride-hailing and logistics companies, and services marketplaces for their income. There are an estimated 4.8 million platform workers in eight key African countries alone.

Source: Flickr/ CC BY-NC 2.0

Globally the pandemic has demonstrated the…


Authors: Annabel Schiff and Jessica Osborn

There are hundreds of platforms operating across Africa. Some, like Jumia and OLX, connect providers and buyers of goods, others like Lynk and Hello Tractor connect providers and buyers of local services. There are platforms for online workers, such as KuHustle and Upwork, and there are platforms in the business of attention, like Facebook and Bonga. …


This blog was authored by Annabel Schiff — Senior Manager, Partners at the FiDA Partnership — with input from Lesley Denyes — Program Manager and Digital Finance Specialist at IFC

In China, collaborative relationships have played an important role in driving financial innovation and inclusion in the country. In Part 1 of this blog series we discussed the Chinese ethos of building the digital finance space together, based on insights from our recent FiDA Partnership fintech study tour to China. …


This blog was written by Lesley Denyes — Program Manager and Digital Finance Specialist at IFC and Annabel Schiff — Senior Manager, Partners at the FiDA Partnership — with input from Jessica Osborn, Senior Manager, Partners at the FiDA Partnership

Harmony has always been a highly valued virtue in the long history of China’s civilization, and it remains the cornerstone of Chinese culture today. It is no wonder then that harmony and collaboration were recurring themes during Mastercard Foundation’s FiDA Partnership fintech study tour to China, where we visited a number of leading technology and fintech organisations. …


This blog written by Sieka Gatabaki, Financial Services Manager at MercyCorps Agrifin Accelerate Program in Kenya with contributions from Annabel Schiff -Senior Manager, Partners at the FiDA Partnership.

In Part 1 of this blog, Stephen Deng shared insights from our recent trip to China about how e-commerce, and a sophisticated set of last-mile products and services, has helped drive the digital finance revolution in the country. In this blog we take a look at the e-commerce landscape in Africa, and the opportunities and challenges of developing a similar stack of last-mile offerings on the continent.

The growth of e-commerce in…


When it comes to the adoption of digital finance, the data says it all. In 2017, there were 690 million registered mobile money accounts globally, and sub-Saharan Africa accounted for almost half of these registered mobile money accounts (GSMA). While access challenges persist, the industry is doing better and better at getting digital financial services into the hands of low-income, underserved individuals.

However, researchers know less about what individuals do with digital financial services once they have adopted them. The available data indicates that the most popular services are remote payment and transfer services, which are typically used on a…

Annabel Schiff

Director, The Mastercard Foundation Learning Partnership led & hosted by Caribou Digital (https://medium.com/caribou-digital)

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