The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the proliferation of irregular forms of work in the Arab region. In fact, economic recovery has been largely driven by the growth of informal labor vis-à-vis formal work. In light of this, the platform economy, a market based on the digital transformation of work, has gained traction as a viable alternative to traditional employment. While it is advertised for work flexibility and entrepreneurial spirit, joining the platform economy is proven to lead to precarious working conditions in European countries.

For Arab countries, a region known for its jobless growth, the implications of joining the platform economy remain mostly understudied. This topic, however, is of particular importance as Arab countries navigate the pandemic’s lingering impacts on the labor market, which could push a significant portion of workers into freelancing. In fact, research from Lebanon and Egypt highlights the growing landscape of digital labor platforms and the degree of vulnerabilities that platform-based workers could be subjected to.

To this end, The Policy Initiative, in collaboration with the Arab Reform Initiative as part of the Arab Region Hub for Social Protection, aims to convene a webinar to nuance the predicament of working in the platform economy in the Arab region, with a focus on Lebanon and Egypt.

More specifically, the webinar will cover the following overarching questions:

  1. What does the landscape of the platform economy look like in the Arab region and how is it different from that in the global north? What differentiates workers in the platform economy from those in the informal economy? 
  2. How do states classify platform or digital-based workers in national labor statistics? What are the implications of this?
  3. What are the legal frameworks that regulate such work structures in the platform economy? What kind of vulnerabilities does this beget for workers?
  4. How can we ensure the integration of fair work conditions in a sector that is largely unregulated? What can states do the mitigate the risk carried by platform-based workers?

To watch the webinar: click here

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