Building capacity to help Africa trade better

Africa’s e-commerce readiness


Africa’s e-commerce readiness

In July 2016, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) launched a new initiative to improve the inclusiveness of e-trade for developing countries. Entitled ‘eTrade for All’, this initiative involves organisations, donors and the private sector and is intended to extend assistance to developing countries in accessing support for e-trade adoption. It is not a support organisation for e-trade adoption in itself, but rather one that assists with clarifying the various forms of support for developing and transition economies.

One of the main driving principles behind the initiative is the sense that the gains from globalisation have not been as inclusive to developing countries as they could have been. This is just one way in which the developed world is assisting with e-trade inclusion for Africa.

A key component of data underlying the ‘eTrade for All’ initiative is the UNCTAD B2C e-commerce index – an index that ranks all countries according to their readiness for electronic trade. Note that the coverage of this index for Africa is extensive but not complete.

An Africa-wide visualisation of the index’s ranking is shown in the infographic. In this figure, the colour green corresponds to a high ranking, yellow to a middle ranking and red to a low ranking; indicating various levels of e-commerce readiness. The shades are not discrete but continuous and so small shade differences do have a meaning, such as those between Angola and Zambia. In this case, Angola ranks higher than Zambia, as indicated by the shading.

This infographic accompanies a recent tralac Working Paper by John Stuart, entitled The Rising Potential of e-Commerce for Trade and Development in Africa.

Africa’s e-commerce readiness

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