Young black man shopping in supermarket, Buying groceries and food products.

Researchers used Omnisient to anonymise, protect, and analyse shopper data from a major loyalty programme to determine the impact of public employment programme on the South African economy.

Loyalty shopper data shows the impact of public employment programme on the South African economy

  • A new study shows that a government public employment programme had proven long-lasting economic benefits and created jobs.
  • The study, funded by global organisations, used local tech firm Omnisient’s advanced cryptography to anonymise, protect, and match loyalty programme member data from a large retailer.
  • The study found that the government programme supported around 1,800 private sector jobs and injected R38 million per month into the economy through participant spending.

Cape Town, 15 February 2024: A study conducted by the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) at the University of Cape Town has revealed the direct impact of a government public employment programme on the South African economy .

The study, funded by the French Development Agency (AFD) and the European Union (EU), focused on the impact of the Basic Education Employment Initiative (BEEI) of the Presidential Employment Stimulus (PES).

Across four non-overlapping phases, the BEEI has employed over 850,000 young people at minimum wage as teaching assistants across 23,000 schools since October 2020 as a part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Employment Stimulus in response to the economic impact of COVID.

Until now, the economic reach and impact of these programmes on the private sector were largely unknown and could not be determined due to privacy regulations and breach risks. However, through the application of advanced cryptography from local data collaboration firm Omnisient, researchers have been able to track spend by public employment participants with a local grocery retailer for ten months.

The Trickle-Down Effect of a Government Programme

The analysis revealed an increase in spend with the retailer of 15% by BEEI programme participants. The research calculated the resulting increase in spend with this retailer alone supported an additional 1,800 private sector jobs per month, increased local community incomes by around R 13.3 million in addition to the actual BEEI minimum wage payments, and injected R 38 million per month into the economy through participant spending.

Joshua Budlender, Research Fellow at the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) at the University of Cape Town, says the study provides important insights into the broader impact of public employment programmes on subsequent spending.

“Even after the programme ended, BEEI programme participants maintained their spending levels at 4% more than before they began receiving payments, compared to non-participants in the programme. This suggests there might be a longer-term improvement in the overall financial situation of programme participants compared to the financial situation of non-participants,” says Budlender. “The research shows that by boosting participants’ spending, these programmes stimulate economic activity in local communities and nationally supporting jobs and incomes outside the programme.”

Ultimately, the research indicates that by giving young people work experience the programme may enable them to find the funds – either through jobs or setting up their own business – to maintain their spending levels at 4% more than before they joined the programme.


Enabling Data-Driven Policy Decisions

In partnership with South African privacy-preserving data collaboration firm Omnisient, researchers matched securely anonymised participant IDs with anonymised weekly sales data from one of the country’s largest retailers and estimated the treatment effect on participant spending at the retailer.

“Omnisient’s privacy-preserving data collaboration technology was essential to the research process because it allowed for easy and secure collaboration between our data partners and external researchers,” says Rudi Dicks, Head: Project Management Office in the Presidency. “We are grateful to Omnisient for the role they played in our efforts to make evidence-based policy interventions to address unemployment in South Africa.”

“We are extremely proud of our role in revealing insights that can be used to support government policy decisions that can have long-lasting positive effects on our local economy and society,” says Jon Jacobson, CEO and co-founder of Omnisient. “By ensuring consumer privacy and data are always protected during analysis, government agencies can use our technology to prevent fraud and optimise and measure the impact of government programmes.”

Click here to read the Study

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About Omnisient

Data collaboration enables world changing opportunities for businesses and communities. One of the world changing opportunities is growing financial inclusion for millions around the world.

To take advantage of this opportunity, Financial Services providers urgently need good quality consumer data. However, they are restricted by tightening privacy regulations, risk of data breach, risk of IP leakage and depreciating value of data, and lengthy times to negotiate and access new data.

Enter Omnisient. Omnisient is the award-winning privacy preserving data collaboration platform that is enabling financial services businesses to securely access high-value consumer data ecosystems in a regulatory compliant manner using advanced Cryptography and AI.

Omnisient is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneer Community, a TechCrunch Startup Battlefield 200 participant, a member of the United Nations Privacy Enhancing Technologies committee, and a Fast Company “Next Big Things in Tech” startup, among other accolades.

Established in 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa, Omnisient protects over 150 million consumer profiles for over 80 large businesses.

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Media Contact: Julian Diaz – [email protected]

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Omnisient’s Privacy-Preserving Data Collaboration platform incorporates Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs), a secure collaboration environment and embedded AI and analytics tools to eliminate risk, achieve regulatory compliance, and draw ground-breaking insights from consumer data.

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About the Author

Julian Diaz is Omnisient’s CMO. Julian is a B2B tech marketer for start-ups with over 20 years of experience marketing in USA, UK, Europe and South Africa.