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Communication Authority to publish e-commerce regulation in 2019

CA Director General Francis Wangusi says this will focus on putting support physical infrastructure, a project that is expected to take one year/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 22 – Kenya will from next year begin to regulate the e-commerce sub-sector in a bid to facilitate its development and safeguard Kenyans from fraud.

Communication Authority of Kenya Secretary General Francis Wangusi said the guidelines are already in place and are waiting for stakeholders’ engagement that is set for the first quarter of 2019.

The Authority is also working on the National Addressing System which will also be operational in the first quarter of 2018.

The system provides for, among others, naming and numbering of streets, numbering of properties such as buildings and parcels of land to facilitate identification and the location of a parcel or dwelling on the ground.

“We are just waiting to bring a consultant on board. We have a stakeholders’ consultation and thereafter take it to parliament,” he told Capital FM Business.

According to CA, online trading platforms are not regulated under the Kenya Information and Communications Act (KICA) as they do not constitute electronic services as envisaged under the act and are therefore not licensable.

This means consumers cannot enjoy protection under the Consumer Protection Regulations, 2010, which apply in instances where the Authority’s licensees offer services.

Other jurisdictions like the United Kingdom, specific regulations exist to protect consumers when engaging in online transactions.

These regulations, which were operationalized under the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, are the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations, 2013.

“Such regulations also need to be enacted in Kenya to build consumer confidence in online transactions leading to further development of e-commerce,” the regulator says.

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A joint 2016 National ICT Survey between the Authority and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) National ICT Survey established that 39 percent of private enterprises are engaged in e-commerce.

Though the survey focused only on private enterprises and did not take into account households, for the first time it was possible to determine e-commerce penetration levels at the national level.

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