Mobile is selected as a solution

(Ecofin Agency) – Mobile connectivity is an opportunity to develop e-commerce in Central Africa, advising ECA and GSMA. The eleven member states of the Economic Community of Central African States are invited to take advantage of the spread of mobile phones to stimulate economic growth and sustainable development.

According to a joint report published on Wednesday 14 July by the GSMA and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), titled: “Stimulating E-Commerce in Central Africa: The Role of Mobile Services and Policy Implications”, mobile connectivity and government reforms are essential to achieve allowing the e-commerce sector to access cruising speed.

For both organizations, mobile technology is the main platform used to access the Internet and conduct financial transactions through the mobile phone, helping to meet the challenge of low penetration of bank cards and the risks associated with cash payments. Thus, mobile operators can provide a better connection that enables online activities

In fact, despite the remarkable progress, all eleven Central African countries lag behind those in other African regions in terms of mobile Internet access. GSMA Intelligence data shows that mobile internet penetration within the Economic Community of Central African States was 23% in 2019, compared to 43% in North Africa, 29% in the Economic Community of West African States, and 26% in the South African community and 21% in East Africa. In addition, the sub-region continues to face significant challenges such as lack of ICT skills and weak institutional capacity to support innovative businesses.

Within the Economic Community of Central African States, Gabon ranks first in terms of internet penetration, with an average of 38%. Cameroon and Sao Tome and Principe share a connection rate of 34%, followed by Congo with 32%. Next comes Angola (31%), Rwanda (25%) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (23%). Finally, Chad (17%), Burundi (13%), Central African Republic (11%) and Equatorial Guinea (7%) are vying for the bottom positions in the ranking.

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As for governments, they are expected to be able to implement policies that support e-commerce activities, recognizing that e-commerce is affected by the policies and activities of multiple and often disparate sectors, and that its growth can enhance productivity and efficiency throughout the economy.

The state of e-commerce services in Africa is affected by many other factors that are likely to limit their ability to grow. In addition to the lack of access to and cost of mobile Internet services for low-income residents, these are limited use of digital payment services, inadequate addressing systems in some urban areas, and in most rural areas, or a difficult business environment for residents. Young e-commerce companies.

E-commerce can create jobs and stimulate economic activity. It has the potential to contribute to achieving the goals of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The growth of the digital economy creates new opportunities for companies to expand their businesses and integrate the global value chain. A mobile phone connection can also make it possible to take advantage of e-commerce to promote the “Made in Central Africa” ​​brand.

Aisha Moyouzame

Brooke Vargas

"Devoted gamer. Webaholic. Infuriatingly humble social media trailblazer. Lifelong internet expert."

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