NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
The United Nations on Monday urged African states to develop
regulations in order to spur e-commerce growth.
Secretary-General of UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD),
told journalists in Nairobi that the continent lags the rest of
the world in the uptake of digital trade due to lack of a
“Africa needs to
develop laws to enhance on integrity of procurement on
electronic platforms so that consumer can trust e-commerce
platforms,” Kituyi said during the African Union e-commerce
conference in Nairobi.
The three-day event
aims to provide a platform to enhance understanding of the
current state of e-commerce in Africa, the challenges and
opportunities, build on the experience of actors on the ground
as well as other regions of the world, and to discuss key
elements of a roadmap for the development of a African protocol
on intellectual rights to facilitate emergency of African
Kituyi called for
adequate regulations to protect consumers who order goods
electronically and as well as delivery mechanism to ensure
seamless connectivity of goods procured online.
He noted that some
of the rules that need to be introduced should ensure that
e-commerce firms are compelled to deliver goods paid for by
consumers as they have promised.
According to UNCTAD
senior official, states should also develop online dispute
mechanism so that contracts can be honored by all parties
involved including in the case of cross border trade.
He noted that
e-commerce has numerous advantages over traditional platforms
because it can provide visibility for small scale producers to
“However, for the
small business community to benefit they need to develop
products that are of global standards,” he said.
Kituyi said that
Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria lead the continent in the
performance of e-commerce as they have all recorded
approximately 6 percent of overall trade as being conducted in
digital platforms as at the end of 2017.
He said that Kenya
has one of the most advanced mobile money payments systems in
the world with about 85 percent of adults having a mobile bank
financial inclusion is not a sufficient condition to catalyze
e-commerce especially in the rural areas that lack physical
infrastructure to provide efficient delivery systems,” said
Kiyuti who is also a
former Kenyan trade minister decried the lack of domestic
e-commerce platforms in the continent.
He said that local
e-commerce platforms are likely to show more fidelity to local
producers and boost domestic productivity as opposed to foreign
players that have a bias towards selling more international
Kituyi noted that it
is not too late for Africa to catch up to the rest of the world
in digital commerce because the region has the intellectual
capacity to do so.
“What is required is
dialogue between private sector, government and academia on the
right policies required to be implemented,” he added.
The UNCTAD official
also called for reforms in the education sector so that
graduates produced are matched to current market demand.
He said that
currently there is a deficit of relevant skills that are
required to transform the continent into an economic giant.
In order to catalyze
the e-commerce trade, UNCTAD and the Africa Union have jointly
organized the First UNCTAD Regional eCommerce week that will
take place from Dec. 10 to 14 in the Kenya capital city of
Under the theme
“Empowering African economies in the digital era”, the
conference will examine the ways to enhance the ability of
African countries to engage in and benefit from e-commerce and
the evolving digital economy.
Kituyi said that the
forum will offer a targeted program for policymakers from
African countries and other stakeholders to identify innovative
ways for shaping the African digital economy.