Zimbabwe ranked 15th on online shopping readiness in Africa

By Staff reporter | 12 Dec 2018 at 13:00hrs
Zimbabwe has been ranked 15 out of the 43 African countries in terms of online shopping readiness on the continent, which raises the need to boost Internet penetration to grow e-commerce, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 2018 B2C E-commerce Index.

The 2018 UNCTAD B2C E-commerce Index, which measures an economy's preparedness to support online shopping, has expanded its coverage to include 151 economies, up 7 from the 2017 edition.

The index consists of four indicators that are highly related to online shopping and for which there is wide country coverage. These include the extent to which people shop online in a country is highly correlated with the value of the index, with an adjusted R squared value of 0.8.

43 African countries feature in the 151-nation index but make up as many as nine of the bottom ten. In the 2018 World Rankings, Zimbabwe remained unchanged at their 2017 position of 109.

"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 has yet to start using the Internet. However, 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.

"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.

Nevertheless, the number of African online shoppers has surged annually by 18% since 2014, faster than the world average growth rate of 12%," UNCTAD Secretary-General MukhisaKituyi said.

Mauritius has been ranked the most prepared country in Africa for shopping online and placed 55 in the global index, which is topped by the Netherlands, Singapore and Switzerland. Nigeria was ranked second in Africa, followed by South Africa, Tunisia and Morocco. Niger completed the list at number 44.

UNCTAD is supporting the ability of African countries to engage in and benefit from e-commerce through Rapid e-Trade Readiness Assessments of least developed countries. They identify bottlenecks and propose remedies. As of November 2018, assessments in Africa had been completed for Burkina Faso, Liberia, Madagascar, Senegal, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.

Unlike developed markets such as the European Union, where 68% of Internet users made an online purchase in 2017, the corresponding figure in Africa was only 13% on average in 2017.

UNCTAD also added that there is a need for African countries to get more of its existing Internet users to "trust the online market" for making purchases.



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