Across the world, digital commerce, or e-commerce as it is more popularly known, has evolved to become a significant driver of global economic transformation, creating new use cases and business opportunities for the industry. Africa is no exception to this.
TechCabal, Africa’s leading publication on tech and innovation, has partnered with Klasha, a tech startup focused on cross-border payment solutions for Africa to produce a whitepaper that discusses African e-commerce and its opportunities. This white paper examines the state of international e-commerce in Africa, focusing on the key players contributing to the development of the e-commerce sector and barriers hampering its growth.
It also discusses strategies to remove these barriers and facilitate international trade on the continent, emphasising the unified digital payment solution startup Klasha and its roles in addressing these challenges.
This paper addresses the questions on the mind of every entrepreneur and policymaker, which are:
- What is the way forward in tackling these barriers?
- How can we accelerate Africa’s e-commerce development to become a global force and serve as a positive influence in advancing her economy?
Research by Statista indicates that in 2020 the revenue generated by online shopping in Africa was estimated to be around $27.97 billion, an increase of 53% from 2019. Estimates further show that Africa’s e-commerce revenue will increase between 2021 and 2025.
Africa’s internet penetration also supports this growth. There are approximately 465 million internet users on the continent, and this figure is estimated to reach nearly half a billion by 2025. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) also reported that online shoppers in Africa had surged annually by 18% since 2014.
Although the COVID-19 crisis caused some setbacks, the e-commerce sector has not been left behind. Instead, it proved to be a key sector as customers turned to e-commerce to fill the gap left behind by the impact of global lockdown measures. We see this continuing even as the effects of the pandemic are scaling down across the world. According to a survey by Nielsen, consumers in Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya were 40% more likely to either maintain the same shopping levels they had before the pandemic or increase them.
However, e-commerce growth in Africa remains relatively low compared to other regions. For instance, the percentage of online shopping traffic in Africa still represents less than 2% of the total number of e-commerce users globally.