E-commerce was on the agenda of two recent global economic governance summits, the 11th G20 summit in China and the 8th BRICS summit in India, and also features firmly at the World Trade Organization.
E-commerce represents an enormous opportunity for Africa. In the wake of the commodities downturn this year, most African states are experiencing serious economic problems. Yet, consumers and producers still face considerable barriers to doing business within Africa.
E-commerce can overcome some of these constraints. Marketing, buying and selling goods over the internet means more options, more information, a wider market, and more affordable prices. Increasing mobile technology ownership and the widespread use of ‘mobile money’ in Africa promises a good base for growing this sector.
Sadly, this is not enough. Reliable infrastructure, consumer protection and open cross-border arrangements are crucial for e-commerce to thrive. But less than half of African countries have comprehensive online consumer protection legislation, and African states consistently rank at the bottom of the World Bank Logistics Performance and Doing Business indexes.
- What can South Africa and other African countries do to take full advantage of e-commerce in their domestic markets?
- What should African countries be doing at a regional and international level to ensure they are not left behind in e-commerce regulation and standards?
Expertise and resources available
The research paper is available from the GEG Africa website:
About Global Economic Governance Africa
The Global Economic Governance Africa project is a partnership between SAIIA, DNA Economics and Tutwa Consulting. Funded by the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), its focus is on strengthening the influence of groupings within and outside South Africa working for pro-poor outcomes through the institutions of global governance. Read more on www.gegafrica.org.
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