UNCTAD pushes for increased e-commerce use

E Commerce holds the key to expanding intra Africa trade on the continent.

According to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), African governments need to come up with legislation to support this sector of trade as well as encourage more home grown E-commerce platforms.

Over the last three years, E- commerce globally grew by 36 percent to $25 trillion.

However, developing countries especially in Africa have lagged behind in this form of trade with Kenya and South Africa leading the pack at six percent.

UNCTAD secretary general Mukhisa Kituyi said there was need to for African nations to grow their e-commerce platforms to bridge the global trade imbalance with developed countries.

This he said would grow intra Africa trade from the current 18 percent and increase Africa’s share of global trade estimated at less than three percent.

“That is the strength of a domestic electronic platform. It is looking at how to help you but if it gets to another territory, it looks at how can we support that market with what we know from our own territory so the power of Africans establishing their own platform is the answer to the question, how can we  empower African producers,” Mr Kituyi said.

He was speaking during the announcement of the first edition of the Africa E- Commerce week in December which will be held in Nairobi.

Locally Kenya hosts a number of e commerce platform among the Jumia, Masoko and Afrika Sokoni while globally platforms such as Amazon, ebay and Alibaba dominate.

Among challenges hindering the growth of e-commerce include inadequate infrastructure, under developed financial and payment systems, poor ICT literacy on e- commerce, imperfect national legal systems and policies and low purchasing power.

“Africans can do better than this…..and you have the intellectual resources on this continent to fast track this but they need governments, civil society. Let’s put the feet and hands of political leaders to the fire. Africa needs a more concerted effort on not missing the boat in the digital economy era,” he said.


e-commerce JUmia UNCTAD Alibaba Mukhisa Kituyi policy legislation intra-Africa trade Masoko trade imbalance

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