How technology generates employment opportunities

By Francis Kajubi , The Guardian
Published at 12:15 PM May 23 2024
A digitally created illustration showcasing the world of startups.
Photo: File
A digitally created illustration showcasing the world of startups.

TECHNOLOGY and innovation are increasingly empowering young Tanzanians to pursue self-employment opportunities. With each passing day, these advancements are becoming vital drivers for economic independence and entrepreneurial success among the youth in Tanzania.

Data by the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Commission shows that as of March 2024 there were 21 million youth self-employed in the technology and innovation sectors particularly start-ups and online businesses.

The ICT Commission’s data clarifies that youth employed in the two sectors are aged between 15 and 34 years forming 33 percent of the total country’s population pegged at 61.7 million as per the 2022 National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Census report.

The Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) current report shows that in the academic year ending 2022, a total of 2,166 higher learners graduated from the ICT field.

It states that students pursuing ICT related subjects in primary and secondary schools are approximately 12.3 million.

Maarufu Muyaga, Founder and CEO of M-Kadi Technologies Limited is now self-employed in the innovation sector since he graduated from the Tanzania Institute of Accountancy (TIA) in 2017. He wasted almost three years in search of employment.

“Getting employed without experience that employers needed was a main obstacle for me,” he said.

The company designs and delivers digital custom event cards to invited guests for various functions, ensuring seamless access to event details and participation by using a digital validation system.  

Muyaga said in a recent interview with the writer of this article that the online service provides a secured and streamlined entry process.

The company started by offering the service to social and corporate events in Dar es Salaam for free to gain the public trust.

After the business got established, it started charging 2,299/- for a royal digital card and 1,499/- for a gold digital card.

“Designing of paper event invitation cards and the time wasted on delivering them to respective invitees were social challenges that needed to be addressed for years. I found it as opportunities that weren’t capitalized,” said Muyaga.

According to him, he prepares electronic cards for an average of 50 events a month from across the country, mostly those involving 300 to 500 guests. He has employed nine young graduates of the ICT profession to work with him.

“I thank God that I made the right decision in the first place. I wonder what life would be if I could continue struggling for employment. Life is good and everything is working out for me,” he said with a smile on his face.

Lilian Madeje, NIAJIRI Platform Chief Executive Officer said that the online service provider company is designed to assist talented graduates to apply for jobs online.

Using gamification and machine learning, the platform provides a transparent and streamlined process for employers seeking most talented graduates while also bridging the employability skills gap via the integrated online learning management system.

She asserted that the company also works with institutions engaged in offering training for graduates seeking employment since its inception in 2018.

“The platform is being subscribed by over 42,000 graduates and has so far helped 250 graduates to find jobs. The platform is working with 50 corporate employers on special agreement by assisting them to find required talented graduates for their recruitments,” said Madeje.

Adrian Nzamba, Founder and CEO of TAYARI Food Tech Company, the digital waiter platform, said he decided to capitalize on people’s frustrations caused by the traditional food ordering process which requires one to wait for minutes until they are served with the ordered dish.

Nzamba knew he had the solution to the problem. So, he embarked on a mission not just for himself, but for everyone who believed that restaurant visits could be made smoother and more enjoyable.

He said TAYARI digital waiters’ function through the TAYARI Point of Sale system which is installed at the restaurant for 30,000/-. Restaurants offer their services through this system by monitoring sales by waiters through special QR codes.

“The system gives information about total sales made a day. People can place their orders in advance through the restaurants’ social media accounts by clicking an attached link for one's menu to be timely prepared and delivered,” he said.

Nzamba asserted that the system which he invented in 2022 is currently installed in 36 restaurants in Dar es Salaam who also pay 10,000/- as monthly subscription fee.

Dr. Nkundwe Mwasaga, Director General ICT Commission said that the ICT sector contributed 4.3 percent of total tax revenue in quarter two of 2021 contributing 2.5 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP).

The Tanzania Startup Ecosystem Report 2022 shows that employment opportunities created by the ICT sector grew by 14.65 percent creating 89,509 direct and indirect jobs.

Known licensed Start-ups increased to 673 at the end of 2022 from 587 at the end of 2020.

Threat caused by the rise of artificial intelligence (AI)

Togolani Mavura, Ambassador of Tanzania to the Republic of Korea urged the public to perceive Artificial Intelligence (AI) as an opportunity for new experiences that drive the production potential and value addition for start-ups and online businesses.

He said that time has come when it is impossible to separate technology from human capital, employment and the modern ways of doing businesses.

“Young people are skeptical that technology, especially AI, has come to replace them at the workplace, which is not the case. AI is an opportunity for self-employment,” said Mavura.

Angel Mbogoro, Founder and CEO Impact Advisory Africa explained that technology has changed ordinary ways of handling things especially at place of work.

“Zoom meetings were the only option during the Covid-19 eruption. Before the disease nobody was ready to sit down and participate in an online meeting. It was a must for a person to be in person,” said Mbogoro.

Mbogoro cited an example of how social media has ruined the billboards business in big cities such as Dar es Salaam.

“People no longer need to pay 500,000/- for their business or products adverts to be displayed on billboards for a maximum of two weeks but to subscribe on social media for monthly adverts that fetch a maximum of 200,000/-,” she explained.

She asserted that online adverts come with a guaranteed number of audiences to be reached within the subscribed period unlike billboards on the road sides.

“It has come to a point that no one can ignore technology unless they are willing to be left behind,” she said.

According to her, on the way forward, the education system should be reviewed to align technology advancements with human development activities.

Nape Nnauye, Minister for Information, Communication and Information Technology when tabling the ministry’s budget for 2024/25 last week in the National Assembly said the technology and information sector grew by 7.4 percent in 2022 with a geographical coverage of 69 percent of the total country area.

He said registered sim-cards have increased by 16.4 percent to 72.5 million in April 2024 from 62.3 million in April 2023.

Internet users increased to 36.8 million from 33.1 million the 11.2 percent growth. Mobile money services consumers increased 53 million from 44.3 million a19.6 percent growth of the corresponding periods.