Nigerians face many challenges inherent of a country with a large population living in poverty and where unemployment is expected to hit a whopping 33% this year, according to a 2019 forecast by Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Unemployment. And despite online freelance work on AnyTask being the right solution for this country, an infamous email scamming reputation tarnishes the image of Nigerians trying to make a living on the Internet.
However, to all those businesses that outsource work online seeking talented people with incredible skills, Nigerian AnyTaskers represent a huge opportunity to hire some of the best freelancers on the Internet. At the same time, they can feel good about helping the unbanked, the financially excluded, and those affected by rampant unemployment and poverty.
Abuka Victor – Vickerdent on AnyTask – is a prime example of the high-level freelancers you can find on Electroneum's global freelance platform, which saw its launch in late 2019. Since then, over 205,000 people have signed up to the website as either sellers or buyers. Nearly 3,000 different freelance tasks are available on AnyTask, which recently removed all fees from the site to support businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Victor is, among other things, a Powerpoint Presentation expert. He has been doing them for well over four years and currently charges only US$6. That may not sound like much, but in a country where the unemployment rate has skyrocketed, and the minimum daily wage is about US$2.70, that may be the difference between struggling to survive and financial wellbeing.
"Freelancing in Nigeria has, for many, become an alternative way to sell your skills and empower yourself to take control of your life and your economy," said Abuka. "Here in Nigeria, where unemployment is high, online work is a blessing as you do not need to work long hours nor commute extensively only to earn an equivalent to about US$80 a month."
Behind Vickerdent's talent
Abuka is 20 years old and has recently completed a four-year BSc in Computer Science from the Salem University of Nigeria.
"I am continuously learning and taking courses. Currently, I am taking online courses to learn how to code with different languages as I am always looking to improve and acquire more skills to have more to work with on AnyTask," he said.
Vickerdent said that "I am very good with Powerpoint Presentations. I learned how to create them when I was in secondary school and found it came easy to me. I also analyse and troubleshoot computers. I can do that remotely." Locally, the young man from Abuja, the Nigerian capital, repairs computers and performs software installations.
"I have been working for KAFTAN TV in Abuja," said Abuka. "When I first joined, I was assigned to the IT department, where I assisted the Chief Technical Officer. There, I learned quite a bit about office computers, troubleshooting hardware, software, and network issues."
Quick learner that he is, and "due to my experience in event coverage using Easy Worship and vMix software, I was later assigned to the Master Control Room to record studio programmes, news, and shoots." He's now in the Programmes Department, "where I help with news content. I enjoy learning new things, but I do aim to get back into tech support."
Freelancing on AnyTask
"I was looking for ways to make an extra income online and came across Electroneum's ETN app. I downloaded it in June of last year and immediately began exploring the cryptocurrency, with which you can top up your airtime and data, among many other things," he remembered. "It was then I also heard (Electroneum CEO) Richard Ells talk about your freelance platform."
Abuka Victor actually began trading Bitcoin at local crypto exchanges back in 2016, "but it was not until I began using Electroneum that I began to understand more about cryptocurrency."
"I see myself living entirely off of selling my skills on AnyTask," said Abuka. "I highly recommend others who want to freelance because it is very user friendly. You do not require a bank account, and getting paid is very quick and easy."
He said he believes that AnyTask will become one of the most sought after freelance platform in the world. "I have used other freelance platforms to compare with AnyTask, and despite it is at its very early stages and needs some improvements, it is more user-friendly. I do not have to pay any fees or commissions, unlike all the other platforms I tried."
In a recent interview, Joseph Ogechukwu – Qikfingers on AnyTask – said that most freelance platforms accessible in Nigeria require PayPal to get paid. “ but PayPal does not allow Nigerians to receive funds because of all the email scams," he said. "And so, we are faced with having to find others in other countries to get our payment for us. And that is risky because you may never see your payment or costly because nobody does anything for free.”
A bit of background
Mr. Victor was born and bred in Abuja, a capital city of about 10 million people. Interestingly, this was not always the capital of the country as up until 1991 it was Lagos. However, Abuja, built during the 1980s, lies within the Federal Capital Territory created in 1976. Also, the current capital was the first planned city to be built in Abuja.
"I grew up here with my three siblings, my mother, and father," Abuka said. He speaks of a peaceful region unlike the north, where religious and extremist violence is widespread. "The people are very accommodating here, and crime is very low."
And then there's the government. "It claims it supports self-employment and other means to boost the economy, but that is only on the surface for the sake of appearances, but deeper inside you see a country debilitated by corruption and a State that ignores their people."
Over 50% of the population, Abuja said, is self-employed. "People are very entrepreneurial. My mom, for example, sells provisions, mostly food items. My father is a nurse at the National Hospital of Abuja."
On the positive side, Nigeria has a fast-growing information and communication technologies sector that has gone from representing 1% of the GDP to almost 10% today. It has surpassed South Africa to emerge as the prime investment destination with 55 active tech hubs raising a total of US$95 million.
The country is also Africa's largest technology market and accounts for 23% of internet users across the continent, with nearly 130 million people. And lastly, it has the highest number of telecommunication subscribers with a teledensity of almost 90%, making the country an exciting opportunity for tech and FinTech startups.