E-commerce contributed 6pc of all purchases in Kenya in 2017: UNCTAD

July 23, 2018
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Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, UNCTAD Director General, says adequate regulation and political goodwill will drive E-Commerce growth/COURTESY

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 23 – Kenya’s E-Commerce is now estimated at 6 per cent of all purchases made in 2017.

This is according to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development  Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi who says that despite the low levels of e-commerce activity, Kenya is leading the continent alongside South Africa and Nigeria.

Kituyi who was speaking at the African Union E-Commerce conference in Nairobi, says the continent is, however, lagging behind compared to Western Europe where E-commerce accounts for 75 per cent of all purchases.

“African countries can do better. With about 300 million smartphones, E-Commerce has the potential to grow economies and also market local productions. Here in Africa when ordering one line, one has to Pick, Pay and then pray,” Kituyi said on Monday morning.

He said adequate regulation and political goodwill will drive the E-Commerce growth going forward.

He called on African governments to continue championing the use of E-Commerce through creating an enabling environment for developers and entrepreneurs.

“Rwanda is a great example of a collective political commitment to developing digital skills. We also need governments to focus on improving cross-border challenges in a bid to enhance E-commerce in the continent,” he added.

Kituyi further said the African Union is set to come up with a digital payment system by the end of the year.

The system is currently undergoing tests at the ECOWAS countries and is waiting for the ratification of the Africa Common Free Trade area with about six countries including Kenya having ratified.

The AU is also set to come up with a common digital marketplace for Africa.

A joint report by the Communications Authority of Kenya and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics found that more firms, about 27 percent, sold their products online.

 The report also found that, for most enterprises, 32.1 percent, the main deterrent to online selling and buying was the fact that their products were not suited for sale via the Internet.

Already established e-commerce players in the country include Africa Internet Group’s Jumia, Safaricom’s Masoko, Kilimall International and OLX, a unit of Johannesburg-listed Naspers Ltd.

During the third quarter of the FY 2018/19, the total data/Internet subscriptions hit 36.1 million subscriptions.

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