Of Being A Digital Nomad: Unease Of Business In Africa

Hi my name is Beaton I am a blogger and aspiring digital nomad. I dream of travelling Africa and the world, experience difference places meet people, have coffee and write about it…

Breath cooled cup of tea

 Being a digital nomad means that regardless of where I am in the world I would be able to make a living as long as I had phone, laptop and internet connection… Can you even begin to imagine where I am as I am writing this, perhaps I am high up some mountain, hunched over my laptop, watching as my breath fogs up as I am type awkwardly through a pair of thick tactile gloves or maybe I am home in bed hoping I don’t spill my coffee…

Digital nomad Africa

The point is the world has expanded into a global village which should not be bound by meaningless conventions from when “a bunch of people carved up the continent as if it were cake and they were at a birthday party” to quote a blogger I read (can’t remember who will update with link). I dream of a borderless continent with borderless e-commerce and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) hopefully one of the things they set-up is a payment switch for Africa to facilitate payments for all the goods and services the continent will trade in.

The moment I first discovered a blog could be monetised I thought to myself, “Oh wow imagine if the blog could raise at least enough money to pay for my internet connection”. My quest for monetisation led me to the conclusion that never start your blog with the intention of making money from it, that path lies frustration. And if you are lucky to earn a couple of dollars how do you translate that to cash in hand? For example, the popular platforms send to very limited African countries.. Stripe doesn’t work here, Paypal Accounts in Zimbabwe cant receive money and Stripe recently shutdown support to Zimbabwe.

Skrill closes services in Zimbabwe

I had a couple of dollars in my Skrill account which I could never do anything with except send to someone else with Skrill and it would not link to my local Zimbabwean Bank account so couldn’t transfer the balance. It wasn’t a lot of money but I earned it and now it’s gone, gone, gone….

I have lost a couple of opportunities simply because they would say unfortunately they cannot send payments to Zimbabwe or else would have to come up with creative methods which might blur the fine line of financial fraud; such as asking someone else to receive money on my behalf then send to me using a remittance platform like World Remit or Western Union.

I have even thought of going to another country simply so that I can open a bank account and access a world of e-commerce tools which the rest of the world takes for granted.

Transferwise does not send to Zimbabwe

Don’t even get me started on trying to register as a business and set up a local bank account capable of doing international transfers all the paperwork required, proof of residence etc and then they ask for your payslip as proof of income; you would think I was applying for citizenship… but I am a digital nomad and freelance consultant, I don’t have a payslip nor a fixed address as such remember…

Recently, as a token of thanks for my user feedback after beta-testing a software product, I received a $100 Amazon Voucher. My first sane thought, after initially scheming how I could find someone who wanted to buy something from Amazon then ask them to send me the money instead, was to just spoil myself and get something nice… Guess what, most sellers don’t ship to Zimbabwe and those who do will charge about $80+ as shipping cost.

Since there was a book I wanted on Kindle, I had the bright idea to support a few of my fellow Zimbabwean authors who have books listed. HeyAnci wrote an impassioned article for WinterABC about Recognising African Authors and how they never make those curated summer reading lists on Goodreads even though they write page turning thrillers, emotionally driven fiction and steamy romances too… So I put my money where my mouth is:

 I wonder what sort of song and dance they will have to do to get their book sales. I hope my small action will go a bit in establishing a rapport between reviewers and authors. I have made new writing friends and let me not jinx things but hey might be in talks with a publishing company to review their African authors, so all in all, I am happy with how it all turned out…^_^

If you want something and its not available you have to do it yourself… so who do I have to talk to get a digital borderless payment platform for creatives? How about an e-citizenship like how Estonia offers e-residency and digital passports but make it Afrocentric…

This is also a good opportunity to plug Becoming The Muse in case at the back of your mind if you had the thought hmmm how can I support Beaton… You can buy me coffee don’t even ask how many hoops I had jump through so I could add this button:

coffee in Africa

Buy Me Coffee

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25 Comments

      1. 💜 YOU!!! ARE Most Welcome SupaSouBro; it’s a Pleasure to Share and Serve, Stay Strong and Serene

        …💛💚💙…

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Praying for things to get better for digital nomads. I remember a time I tried to get a laptop on credit but was denied because the store owner said freelance writing was not considered a job. Like are you kidding me right now? But anyway, I managed to get that laptop despite that. As for online payments, I’m glad PayPal works here and we have prepaid and online banking. I don’t know if I could manage without this technology.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can imagined the drama when you tried to get credit terms… When my bank wanted me to show them proof of where I got money from, I showed them a screenshot of my earnings page from a freelancer profile site 🤣🤣🤣 took them a bit to come around
      Between hostile economic policies, bureaucracy and economic sanctions it’s really tough setting up a digital nomad life in Zimbabwe…
      But I have a dream

      Thank you for dropping by
      ~B

      Like

    1. Oh and did I mention people who will insist on meeting you for face to face for something that an email would have sufficed which restricts your geo location to some things…

      I mean the are no borders on the internet 😁
      ~B

      Like

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