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06 Mar, 2019

The 2018 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Business-to-Consumer E-commerce Index ranked Kenya in position seven in e-commerce uptake in Africa, and 85 globally. Leading the Africa pack were Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia, Morocco and Ghana coming in that order. Globally, the Netherlands took the lead having improved from fourth place in 2017.

While Africa needs to boost internet penetration to grow e-commerce, it also needs to get more of its existing internet users to trust the online market for making purchases, secure servers, bank accounts, and a clearly marked and mapped address system.

The UNCTAD report further estimates that the B2C e-commerce market in Africa was worth about $5.7 billion in 2017, which corresponds to less than 0.5 percent of GDP, far below the global average of over 4 percent. However, the uptake of eCommerce in Africa has seen online shoppers surge at an annual rate of 18 percent, which is way above the global rate of 12 percent.

There is no doubt that e-commerce is fast emerging as a new frontier in Africa and in the global market. As eCommerce continues to grow, retailers need to expand their distribution networks, build more fulfillment centers, and leverage more on third-party logistics (3PL) partners. At the same time, online retailers must place greater focus on conveniently locating their fulfillment centers close to their markets to facilitate faster deliveries."

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