A survey carried out by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development(Unctad) places Mauritius top in Africa when it comes to e-commerce.
The report released in Nairobi recently shows that Although top in Africa Mauritius ranks 55th globally while Netherlands, Singapore and Switzerland top the index worldwide in that order.
It is an indication that African countries are yet to benefit fully from the smart economy, says Unctad secretary-general Mukhisa Kituyi.
“Africa trails behind the rest of the world in its preparedness to engage in and benefit from the digital economy. Three-quarters of the African population have yet to start using the Internet,”
But there is a ray of hope for Africa.Forty-three African countries feature in the 151-nation index an indication that the continent was making progress.
“The continent is showing progress in key indicators related to B2C e-commerce. Since 2014, sub-Saharan Africa has surpassed world growth on three out of the four indicators used in the index,” he said.
“We estimate that there were at least 21 million online shoppers in Africa last year, less than 2% of the world total, with three countries — Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya — accounting for almost half of that number. Nevertheless, the number of African online shoppers has surged annually by 18% since 2014, faster than the world average growth rate of 12%.”
Mauritius scores relatively high in four areas under survey but particularly in the share of the population having a bank or mobile money account (90%).
Nigeria, the most populous African nation, ranks second, largely thanks to a significant increase in postal reliability as measured by the Universal Postal Union. As Africa’s largest B2C e-commerce market (regarding both number of shoppers and revenue), reliable delivery of products is critical.
South Africa is third, with around six in 10 inhabitants using the Internet in 2017. South Africa leads by some margin in the number of secure Internet servers per million people — an indication of websites accepting online sales and payments.
Key parameters in the survey includes;Internet access, Number of shoppers, mobile money access and delivery.