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Exploring Freelancing in Kenya!!!

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On 21st December, 2016 I interviewed Gideon Masese (Economist), Joshua Moses (Online Freelancer and Statistician) and Fred on the possible effects of proposed American policies under Trump on online jobs (outsourcing). Here is what they had to say: 


Below is the full verbatim of the interview: 

Geoffrey Kerosi: My name is Geoffrey Kerosi, I am your host and today we have a discussion about the effect of proposed American policies on world economy more especially on outsourcing or offshoring to other countries. So before we start I would want all of us to introduce ourselves. Let’s start from this side (pointing to the left).

Gideon Masese: My name is Gideon Masese and I am an Economist by profession. 

Geoffrey Kerosi: Welcome, Gideon. 

Moses Joshua: Thank you. My names are Moses Joshua. A Statistician by profession and an online freelancer. 

Moses Joshua: Thank you Joshua. 

Duke Ngare: Hello viewers. I am Duke Ngare. A journalist by profession but at the moment I am majoring on online writing. 

Geoffrey Kerosi: Welcome, Ngare. Just to give an introduction to today’s topic, we know that the president-elect Donald Trump recently said that he is going to make America great again. According to him, one of the ways to “make America Great again” is through bringing jobs back from China. He has even promised that he will impose a 45% tax on all Chinese goods and services. This is one of the ways they (Trump and his men) feel that they will be able to control the jobs which are flowing out of the country to other countries such as China, Vietnam and other developing countries. 

One of the ways through which the Americans outsource jobs is through contract manufacturing. The second one is online jobs outsourcing. There are some jobs which are done online. They are sent to the developing world because of the labor costs advantage. Today we want to hear your views. What do you think would be the effect of this policy on taking away jobs from the developing world? 

I think Gideon you should go first. 

Gideon Masese: This is going to affect both countries be it America or the developing countries. Both will be affected negatively but there is one which will be affected more than the other. For example if this outsourcing is going to be capped, America will take over the production of those commodities which would otherwise be manufactured in other countries at a cheaper cost. 

By producing those products in America, the cost of production is going to increase. Increased costs will have a long-run effect of slowing down the economy.America is going to have more jobs (a positive effect). At the end of the day, the living standards of the people is going to improve. 

What about these other countries whose jobs have been taken? They are going to be affected in different ways. There is going to be a loss of jobs. Their living standards is going to reduce. If these commodities are not going to be produced in Kenya, there is going to be a reduction of foreign currency. Remember the US currency is strong compared to that of developing countries. 

Overall, the developing countries are going to lose more compared to the developed countries (US). So, this idea of capping on outsourcing needs to looked to be looked into more keenly. 

Geoffrey Kerosi: Going back to the issue of foreign currency. The US dollars at the Central Bank is going to be reduced. what will happen to prices in this case? 

Gideon Masese: The demand of foreign currency is going t0 increase. 

Geoffrey Kerosi: Is it going to make exports or imports more expensive?

Gideon Masese: Imports are going to be expensive. 

Geoffrey Kerosi: What will be effect of this policies on freelance jobs that you have been doing for close to 6 years now? 

Moses Joshua: Now that we have already established ourselves as freelancers. I will look at it from the angle of the policy that is yet to come. These jobs are going to be less on our end. The policy is going to take back the jobs to the Americans. The jobs for freelancers may come to an end. The jobs will be minimal against a high demand. This is sad considering that most people are depending on freelancing considering the high rates of unemployment in the third world countries. 

Geoffrey Kerosi: Why do you propose, what should be the alternative? Should we encourage local businesses to start outsourcing to its people? 

Moses Joshua: Remember freelancing is about jobs that can be done remotely. An online freelancer does not need to be in the same location as their clients. 

Geoffrey Kerosi: Just to make it clear to the viewers what are some of these jobs that you are talking about? 

Moses Joshua: Blog writing, article writing and academic writing.

Geoffrey Kerosi: So it is basically content development?

Moses Joshua: Yeah, it is content development and research. Local companies do not know the effects of outsourcing to a freelancer but once they come into realization, they will know that freelancers are the experts in their fields. Now, it should be understood that the policy is coming into place and most freelancers will be available to perform these jobs. 

One thing they should learn is that freelancers are always trustworthy. These local companies tend to fear. I assure them that freelancers are experts. We deliver to companies outside the country. For instance I have been working with a company in California in the United States. 

Geoffrey Kerosi: Ngare, can you share with us your experience working online. How has it been?

Duke Ngare: I think the bottom line is: we have to ask ourselves, how did we get here? I think we have been failed by the government. Maybe because each year so many people are graduating but there are no jobs. 

I think we have to differentiate between America and Kenya. Basically, what Trump is doing is to create jobs for his people. That is good and that is why they elected him. We cannot cry so much as long as this is going to affect us, we have to look for a way out. One thing for sure is that these policies might not escalate to what we are thinking. Trump is coming with a lot of negativity. He is going to do this and that. Everybody is anticipating bad things about him. I think the online fraternity is something which is very secure. These things as much as he can try to change them, the fact is that online jobs are there to stay. 

From my one year of experience with online jobs I am very optimistic. For the past one year that I have been there, these people who give us jobs are busy doing other jobs. Therefore, they cannot sacrifice their jobs for very small assignments. 

We have come to the end of the interview. If you have something to add, please do so in the comments and follow us on twitter: @kerosiT



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