Mauritius has been ranked the most prepared country in Africa for shopping online, according to UNCTAD’s Business-to-Consumer (B2C) E-commerce Index for 2018, released today at the Africa eCommerce Week taking place in Nairobi, Kenya, on 10-14 December.
Forty-three African countries feature in the 151-nation index but makeup as many as nine of the bottom ten. First-ranked Mauritius placed 55 in the global index, which is topped by the Netherlands, Singapore and Switzerland.
Nigeria, the most populous African nation, ranks second, largely thanks to a significant increase in postal reliability as measured by the Universal Postal Union (UPU).
According to the report, “Nigeria has achieved the top spot in the region thanks to a sustained performance in terms of reliability and connectivity, in spite of a drop in resilience. Indeed, with a score of 85.12, Nigeria’s reliability is among the 25 highest in the sample.
Nigeria ranks second, largely due to reliable delivery, followed by South Africa, which leads the continent in the number of secure Internet servers per one million people – an indication of websites accepting online sales and payments.
“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,” according to UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi.
UNCTAD says that while African countries need to boost Internet penetration to grow e-commerce, many also have to get more of its existing Internet users to trust the online market for making purchases.
Unlike markets in 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.
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%,” Kituyi added.
Even though countries like Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe lead the continent with regards to mobile money accounts, cash-on-delivery still remains the dominant mode of payment for e-commerce in Africa.
Africa eCommerce Week is embracing the theme Empowering African Economies in the Digital Era, where UNCTAD will look at ways in which African countries can engage in and benefit from the evolving digital economy.
To determine the ranking, the index considers the numbers of online shoppers, access to a bank or mobile money account, and ease of payment and delivery.