Entrepreneurship is about solving real problems that people face in their lives. The more difficult the problems you can solve, the greater the rewards you’ll get from the market. Africa’s nanny problem is one of those huge problems that parents across the continent are desperate to solve.
Despite the serious security threats that nannies now represent, it’s a surprise that the demand for nannies is still huge, especially in the big cities across Africa. How come? Here are three major factors that are responsible for the high demand.
There are more working mothers in the cities
Back in the day, most mothers used to sit back at home and take care of the children while daddy was the ‘sole breadwinner’. Today, the era of the ‘full-time housewife’ is almost gone. To increase household income and provide additional financial support for the family, more urban African women are now job-employed or self-employed.
City life often means that in many common cases, mothers who work at day jobs have to leave their children early in the morning and may not return until late in the evening. Many of these mothers have children who are as young as 6 months old.
So, mothers who do not have a close and trusted family relative to help them with childcare often have to look outside for help. This category of mothers is very likely to hire commercial nannies to look after their children. It can be very risky to leave young children in the care of ‘strangers’ but most families simply do not have any other options.
The middle class is the single largest source of demand for nannies in Africa. Poor households are unlikely to afford a commercial nanny service.
According to a Deloitte research report Africa’s middle class population has tripled over the last 30 years and may reach 1.1 billion people by 2060. Middle class households often have two working parents who may be educated and work at a job or owned business. These households typically spend between $60 and $600 on household and living expenses per month, and can afford to pay for convenience services like nannies.
As the middle class segment of Africa’s population continues to grow, it’s expected that the demand for commercial nannies will remain huge and continue to increase across the major cities.
For anyone reading this article who has had any kind of experience with young children, you would know that taking care of kids can be a challenging full-time job. Even ‘full-time housewives’ still need some help with children so they can get other things done.
Although commercial nannies may pose a huge security threat, it’s difficult to ignore the convenience, flexibility and comfort in the service they provide to many households. It’s common for nannies to help with other chores in the home like cleaning and cooking. These too go a long way to help young mothers who have to deal with the pressures of work and family.