NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The inaugural Africa e-commerce summit
opened in Nairobi on Monday with delegates reiterating
calls for sound policies to enhance the sector’s growth.
Hundreds of participants including senior policy makers,
industry executives, representatives of multilateral
agencies, innovators and regulators are attending the
five-day Africa e-commerce conference whose theme is
“Empowering African economies in the digital era”.
Mukhisa Kituyi, secretary general of UN Conference on
Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which organized the
summit in partnership with African Union and European
Union, said the summit will explore innovative ways to
spur growth of digital commerce in the world’s second
“The electronic trade in Africa has potential for growth
but governments must put the right policies and
regulations in place to ensure consumers are protected,”
Statistics from UNCTAD indicate that Africa had 21
million online shoppers by the end of 2017 while Kenya,
Nigeria and South Africa accounts almost half of that
At the same time, the number of African online shoppers
has risen by 18 percent annually since 2014, faster than
the global average growth rate of 12 percent.
Chris Kiptoo, principal secretary in Kenya’s ministry of
trade said that exponential growth of electronic
commerce in Africa will be dependent on investments in
broadband, skills and research.
“We must invest in the infrastructure and human capital
required to grow online commerce whose benefits include
job creation and robust intra-Africa trade,” said Kiptoo.
African countries should seize opportunities presented
by the digital revolution to boost cross-border trade,
promote growth of youth led start-ups and hasten
diversification of their economies.
Akinwale Goodluck, head of Sub-Saharan Africa at global
system for mobile communications said that growth of
electronic commerce will position Africa as a strategic
player in the global economy.
“The digital commerce is a strategic growth area in
Africa and governments must provide the conducive
regulatory environment to allow it to flourish,”
He urged African governments to reform taxation regime,
harmonize policies and promote data protection to ensure
online commerce is inclusive and seamless across