South African startup M4JAM is taking part in a research study conducted by the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) that seeks to better understand the digital economy and the societal implications of network technologies.
The study is taking place across Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, with M4JAM currently the only mobile microjobbing platform included in the research.
It has been a busy few months for the startup, which takes big jobs from reputable companies and breaks them into smaller jobs, allowing users to complete simple tasks using their phones in exchange for cash and prizes. Disrupt Africa reported in February it had raised funding from Naspers and Tencent-owned WeChat Africa, while last month Deloitte announced it is using the platform to gather information from entrepreneurs operating in the Western Cape.
Commenting on M4JAM’s involvement in the OII study, M4JAM co-founder Andre Hugo said there could be no doubt the way work is defined has changed significantly over the last decade.
“The boundaries between personal and working lives are increasingly blurred and people no longer stay in one job for their whole career or are required to sit behind a desk from 9am to 5pm,” he said.
“We are very excited that our voice is being heard as part of the Oxford Internet Institute’s study because I believe the insights gained will shape the future of our platform and the market.”
The OII has hosted several panels in South Africa, while the research team will also interview Hugo for his take on the digital economy and the changing face of work in South Africa.
Researcher Isis Hjorth said the study is focusing on digital jobs, online freelancing and microwork in Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia.
“We are trying to understand the landscape of online work and quantify the potential of the economic growth resulting from this type of work, as well as who is benefiting from digital jobs and how,” she said.
“In addition to global platforms, we have also been trying to identify African initiatives, and we were interested to hear about M4JAM, which is unique in being a mobile-based platform in a developing market.”