Is e-Commerce ready in Africa

I have always wondered if it is yet time to explore Africa and boost trade amongst African nations through e-Commerce. However, sometimes the more I think of e-Commerce the more I think about big e-Commerce platforms like Amazon and ebay and always keep dreaming of seeing it on the morning news on BBC or CNBC that Amazon has now opened one of its state of the art warehouses in Africa. But to date, Africa is still behind in terms of taking advantage of the technology we enjoy here in the western countries. So this article is just a short research of my own and is not based on any data but its my own personal opinion as to why Africa has not as of yet embrace e-Commerce to its full extend and what are some of the major obstacles hindering Africa from moving away from traditional business model and adopt e-Commerce.

• Lack of major banks support

This might sound a bit silly but for Africa to change local banks has the final say. Because of banks not fully supporting locals it then becomes a mountain of work for young entrepreneurs to venture in e-Commerce. For instance, Paypal doesn’t allow certain African countries to send or trade via paypal as their payment gateway. So in a nutshell, Africa is ready but banks and leading financial gateway companies are still unwilling to extend their services to some of the African countries.

Poor postal service facilities

However, having blamed the banks but this time also African Governments are yet to blame when it comes to providing a good and structured postal facility amongst its citizens. I have lived in Africa before and I know how terrible the postal facility can be at times. Sometimes an item supposed to be taking only a week can end up taking more than 6 weeks to arrive well if you are lucky to eventually receive it. So with a slow postal service and poor infrastructure also remains the biggest obstacle that needs to be dealt with first before major e-Commerce giants considers investing.

  • Lack of poor internet penetration

Well in the western countries internet is like our second meal every day but in Africa internet is considered to be luxurious and still considered to be a service only afforded by the elite and the rich. However, in the last decade we can see that most African countries started considering internet as the life blood of its economies and its citizens. Although some countries still enjoys a good penetration but in the eyes of e-commerce this is just the beginning. For Africa to embrace fully e-Commerce, more needs to be done especially such as increasing internet penetration if e-Commerce is to be embraced at a larger scale.

No awareness programs

Again although internet penetration has improved recently but e-Commerce awareness is still very low. Some people say for example, from villages don’t even know what e-Commerce is all about and considering that the large population of African citizens live in remote villages where access to internet or even television is very minimum. This then explains why again governments are to be blamed on this awareness issue.

Eventually, since big companies like amazon and ebay have not considered moving into Africa as of yet, we then started an e-Commerce platform with Africa in mind especially Southern African countries such as: Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique and Kenya. These countries are still under-represented. business model is inclusive of everybody and it is aiming of improving the lives of individuals through empowering them and by making them aware that e-Commerce is the future. The site: is open to anybody regardless of your location to join and open up your first online store.

My name is Artwell Kamanga and I am passionate about e-Commerce hence the reason why I started this blog. So please feel free to leave a comment and what you think is the way forward for the development of e-Commerce in Africa.