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The rise of technological advancement brought about the need to digitize services. This provided consumers flexibility, freedom of choice, and general convenience. In 2020, the pandemic brought in a new shift that provided a lush ground for the growing gig economy.

The term “gig economy” describes a labour market that comprises short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs. This includes roles like freelancers, consultants, independent contractors and professionals, temporary contract workers, and outsourced teams and networks.

A lot of companies had their teams working from home, and there was an influx of remote jobs. Companies are now able to access great talent from anywhere in the world or from several time zones depending on their business needs.

In Africa, gig work is becoming more vital in advancing the continent’s socio-economic goals. Sub-saharan Africa has the world’s youngest population, with over 70% of its population being under 30 years of age. This is the population of fresh job seekers, and they are all unable to get official employment. Freelancing is attracting a large portion of this demographic to self-employment.

Despite the promise held by the gig economy for the youth, it comes with several hurdles. Access to capital, savings, loans, and medical insurance are huge hurdles for them.

ImaliPay is a company that is addressing this issue. At the onset, ImaliPay co-founders noticed that drivers in ride hailing would frequently run out of fuel, and some gig workers lacked phone credit to make calls or have faulty phones that were costly to replace . ImaliPay was birthed to serve this need, and serves the gig economy by providing a one stop shop for financial services tied to a Buy Now Pay Later marketplace, insurance, savings and investment. The goal is to financially empower millions of gig economy workers across Africa, ImaliPay currently operates in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.


As a fintech company, identity verification and fraud prevention is a top priority for their operations. A manual process was not scaleable or efficient. ImaliPay required a solution that reduced fraud cases, reduced the creation of multiple accounts from a single user and an improved onboarding process. In a bid to automate the onboarding and identification verification process, ImaliPay sought out Smile Identity to deliver on that goal across its operational markets in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

They chose Smile Identity as their identity verification partner to offer those services in all the countries they operate in.


We recommended our Biometric KYC product for their specific verification requirements. This was a fitting product for them as they needed to match user-provided details and selfies to the details that exist at the ID authority of the relevant country.

“We have a streamlined onboarding process that works in real time and consolidates it into one unified system. This delivers a memorable first day experience for our users in under a minute” — Alexandria Akena, Head of Partnerships, at ImaliPay


They were able to reduce their onboarding per customer to just under 10 seconds.

“Smile ID has enabled ImaliPay to reduce fraud incidents by verifying the identity of its users in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa using the various identity documents in the three countries. We now have the confidence of knowing who is transacting on our platform and the verification happens in less than 10 seconds.” — Reward Wambayi, CTO at ImaliPay.