Ecowas to boost e-commerce in West Africa
The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) has adopted a strategy to boost e-commerce in the region.
The Ecowas Council of Ministers endorsed the strategy for the organisation’s 15 member nations on 7 July. It is intended to boost e-commerce in West Africa through specific measures responding to local needs, as identified by a recent eTrade readiness assessment produced by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad).
The move comes against the background of rapid growth in the African e-commerce market, with the number of users forecast to rise by over 40% and average revenue per user by 17% between 2023 and 2027.
Strengthening foundations of e-commerce
Eleven of the 15 members of Ecowas are least developed countries and according to the Unctad assessment, the region suffers from a double digital divide.
On the one hand some Ecowas countries are already in the early phases of 5G implementation while others are still struggling to ensure access to broadband.
At the same time there is a divide within countries as they struggle to overcome inequality in access to digital services, or even access to electricity for rural populations.
The strategy aims to build trust along the e-commerce supply chain through a harmonised and updated legal and regulatory framework, reliable digital payment methods, secure marketplaces or websites, and connecting e-commerce buyers and sellers with high-quality products through secured logistics and delivery services.
It also aims to provide reliable data on e-commerce by establishing a regional e-commerce observatory and improving the capacity of Ecowas member states to collect and analyse data.
This should eventually lead to better-informed, evidence-based policymaking in the region and targeted support from development partners.
Source: African Business