African Millennials prefer bank loans to finance their side businesses

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Millennials in East Africa are turning to Agriculture as a side business with a majority having made an attempt to turn their side hustle into their main focus by borrowing starting capital from banks and relatives. This is according to a recent GeoPoll rapid survey among the youth In 6 African countries; Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania

In a continuing series on Sub-Sahara African Millennials, we sought to find out the percentage of youth Africans with side business running as they study or work day jobs. This is the third rapid survey in a series on what makes the African Millennials tick, their aspirations, hopes, affinity, and habits as well as get their thoughts on leadership, governance and their future in a digital age in the best way that they know how to communicate; using their mobile phones.

Agriculture tops ICT, entertainment, online business and logistics as the most popular form of side hustle for millennials in the East African Countries; Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. In West Africa countries; Nigeria & Ghana, the youth are into less conventional sectors than those mostly associated with the youth such as ICT, entertainment, and online businesses. In South Africa, Food & Beverage is the more popular side hustle for many youths.


Apart from Uganda that has the highest number of youth whose day jobs conflict with their side hustles, millennials in other SSA countries don’t experience this dilemma with many choosing either Agriculture, food & Beverage or less conventional side jobs. Interestingly, it is in Uganda where ICT is the next most popular line for a side business, a very close second (20%) to Agribusiness (24.4%) among the youth.

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Despite popular belief, not many young Africans have side hustles (37%). According to our survey, Nigeria has the highest number of millennials with side hustles (44.4%) followed by Kenya (40.8%). South Africa has the least with only 30%.


Out of those who indicated that they have side hustles, the main sources of their capital is in form of loans from banks, relatives, mobile money, and micro-finances in that order. Despite their more friendly repayment terms, Savings Cooperatives or Saccos as they are locally known, are the least popular among the youth and rank lower than mobile money loans, bank loans.

Despite the known high-interest rates charged by most commercial banks, (30%)  of young millennials in SSA still prefer borrowing from commercial banks then relatives at 23% before looking at other available options. A good number of local and multinational banks have rebranded to have a more youthful look and feel with many introducing mobile banking, customized products, and services targeted at millennials. Unfortunately, the same has not happened with many Savings co-operatives which are still viewed as old, boring, traditional, strict entities run by an older generation that does not ‘get’ the youth.

From the survey, this trend of side hustles is fairly new among young millennials with a majority still in school and a few probably in their first job. Over 73% indicated that they have run the side hustle for less than 2 years. The earnings for many who engage in side hustles is below 200USD per month.

This GeoPoll Rapid survey was conducted in February 2017 among 1,762 young Africans in Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania using the GeoPoll app

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Spending habits of Youth consumers in Sub-Sahara Africa


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