Enabling e-commerce in Central Africa
The digital economy in ECCAS is expanding rapidly, driven by the strong adoption of mobile services. Overall mobile subscriber penetration in the sub-region grew from just 18% at the start of the last decade to 42% by the end of 2019, while the number of mobile internet users had reached 46 million by the same date. E-commerce is a key component of the digital economy, allowing buyers and sellers to interact and transact online regardless of time and location. This has the potential to generate significant social and economic benefits, particularly in emerging countries.
Mobile technology is a key driver of e-commerce services in ECCAS. As well as being the primary platform used to access the internet, mobile technology is also facilitating online payments through mobile money, helping to address the challenge of low penetration of bank cards and the risks associated with cash-on-delivery. By the end of 2020, there were 16 live mobile money services in ECCAS, serving nearly 50 million registered accounts.
Governments in the sub-region have a significant role to play in implementing policies to support and stimulate investment in e-commerce services. This report identifies key areas where action is required to increase access to digital services in general and e-commerce services in particular: enhancing digital and financial inclusion; taking the right approach to data regulation; addressing key challenges in the business environment; and leveraging stakeholder collaboration.