Digital assets and the African creator economy

Africa is a unique continent with a thriving population full of life and remarkably talented, with the potential to take on the rest of the world through creativity. The beauty of the continent lies in the diversity of cultures and the indefatigable spirit of the over 1.4 billion people who live on the continent. However, as diverse as the cultures and people are, they all have one common goal: to thrive through every challenge; this goal transcends all 50 countries and over 1000 cultures that make up the continent.

According to research by UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD), as of 2021, 490 million people in Africa are forecast to be living below the poverty line of 1.90 PPP$/day, which is 37 million higher than was predicted in the absence of the pandemic. This is in comparison to the figures in 2019, when 478 million people were estimated to be living in extreme poverty. What does this mean for the continent?

From the standpoint of the young population on the continent, this means that people need to find alternatives to traditional employment to keep their families going; this is where the creator economy comes in. The youth have learned to lean into their creativity to create wealth and jobs for themselves.

The internet has changed how people produce, distribute, and monetise their online material, leading to the rise of the creative economy. 

This emerging trend has resulted in increased entrepreneurship and job creation, especially in developing African nations where unemployment is a significant issue, and the population is largely young. The pandemic birthed an era of online entrepreneurs, giving African youth an alternative to unemployment and poverty.

In recent years, there has been a steady increase in internet penetration on the continent, with over 645 million people currently having access to one or more social media platforms. More than 90% of that number are young people who are online daily, either surfing the internet or creating some form of digital content. Selar, an e-commerce platform that allows people to create and sell digital products online, released a report on The African Creator Economy and Future of Work. The report shows how young people across the continent are leveraging online platforms like theirs and other social media platforms to create employment for themselves and others. According to the report, 1 in 4 digital creators currently have people working for them, and 3 in 5 of them sell one or more digital products such as e-books, courses, and training programs. This shows that the creator economy has created a way out for young people, so should more people explore this alternative?

How Much is the Creator Economy Worth?

Let us explore the earning potential of creators, as this is the biggest determinant of why the industry is thriving. In a Forbes report from 2021, the digital creator economy was estimated to be worth $20 billion, and it was projected that this industry may reach $104.2 billion by 2022. Now, in 2024, the creator economy is currently pegged at $250 billion and is predicted to grow in the next four years, according to Goldman Sachs.

How much a creator earns depends on several factors, such as platform, number of followers, views, etc. Each platform, such as YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, and X, has policies for how much they pay creators based on the factors above. However, beyond getting paid by these platforms, companies and brands are constantly looking for social media influencers or ambassadors to promote their brands and get paid. This is why the industry is growing rapidly; there are numerous opportunities available in space, and African creators are taking advantage of them.

How Creators are Leveraging Digital Assets

One of the many challenges that people on the African continent face is the issue of financial isolation. There is no proper infrastructure to ensure that people and businesses within the continent can make and receive payments internationally at low costs; some people spend almost half of the amount they are sending or receiving on fees. However, in recent times, Fintechs like Yellow Card and PayPal have provided cheaper alternatives to sending and receiving money across Africa, and creators are taking advantage of this.

To further drive conversations around this, Yellow Card was involved in an event held in Lusaka, Zambia, called Creators’ Connect, in March 2024. The event was attended by creators at all levels of the industry, from beauty and fashion influencers to financial literacy champions and aspiring creators; all brought together under the same roof to learn about ways to put themselves out there as an authentic brand, network, and earn some good money in the process. And let’s just say they were dressed to impress. 

During the event, attendees engaged in several discussions revolving around the African creative industry and some of the challenges creators face when interacting with global brands. One of the key challenges raised was Financial Isolation. Africa, as a continent, faces several limitations when it comes to how people handle their finances due to high fees for sending and receiving funds across different countries. 

Drawing insights from the event, we can see that with digital assets like USDT, creators can work with global brands and get paid directly to their accounts without the hassle of queuing at their local banks for hours or even worrying about exchange rates. Products like Yellow Pay allow creators to receive funds in their local currency using the exchange rate at the time of payment at no extra cost to them or the sender. They can also receive USDT directly in their wallet, which they can sell whenever they want. These options make it possible for young people in Africa to tap into the global market and collaborate with major brands without the fear of being short-changed during payment.

Africa stands at a pivotal juncture, grappling with the dual challenges of persistent poverty and unemployment. However, amidst these challenges, the creator economy poses a beacon of hope for the burgeoning youth population. As the continent continues to witness a surge in internet penetration and digital content creation, young Africans are harnessing the power of online platforms to chart a new path, create jobs, and generate income. The exponential growth of the creator economy, now valued at $250 billion and projected to soar higher, underscores the transformative potential it holds. By leveraging digital assets and innovative fintech solutions, African creators are transcending financial barriers and accessing global markets with unprecedented ease. As the continent navigates the complexities of the 21st century, embracing the creator economy offers not only economic empowerment but also a pathway to redefine Africa’s narrative on the global stage.

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