SIFEM - Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets

Good Practice Note on ‘Managing labour risks and opportunities of platform work’

SIFEM commissioned the guidance on ‘Managing labour risks and opportunities of platform work’ together with British International Investment (BII) and Ergon.


Digital technology is essential to modern economies and can provide countries with new paths to development. It is an enabler, opening up opportunities across a wide range of sectors from agribusiness to retail, transport and manufacturing. Technology-enabled businesses are increasingly common in emerging market investment portfolios.  

One area which has grown exponentially in the past decade is digital labour platforms. Through these platforms, individual workers are able to provide services to companies or individuals in exchange for payment. According to some estimates, there are up to 40 million platform workers in the global South alone, and it is estimated that by 2025 one third of all labour transactions will be mediated by these digital platforms. Digital labour platforms can provide the opportunity to facilitate sustainable development through job creation, particularly in labour markets with high unemployment and degrees of informality. 

With job creation being one of SIFEM’s main objectives, it has a growing focus on platform work. However, platform work has only become mainstream in the last decade and therefore there is little existing guidance on best practice for working conditions, social protection and worker safety. 

This good practice note provides guidance to Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and Fund Managers and impact specialists on platform work, focusing on digital platforms that connect supply and demand for labour. It touches on two key questions: Why is platform work relevant to development and what can investors do to mitigate risks associated with platform work.

Jörg Frieden, Chairman of the Board: “I am very pleased by the result of the collaboration with the partners BII and Ergon. We provide guidance for upholding rights and working conditions of vulnerable workers. I cannot imagine a better use of our influence as a public fund investing in private ventures.”

Contact: Mirjam Garzon, Deputy Head Business Services Management,, +41 79 660 35 49

Download the Good Practice Note