Johannesburg - The African e-commerce industry is set for significant growth in the next few years due to the increased availability of broadband access, affordable data costs offered by mobile operators and the consistent development of mobile devices.
According to Hennie Heymans MD of DHL Express South Africa, due to these factors, certain African regions may soon overtake South Africa when it comes to e-commerce activity.
SA therefore has to address the potential challenges which may be hampering the growth of the industry.
Heymans said that as a result of the potential in certain African territories, DHL Express has recently partnered with Jumia, Nigeria’s first and largest African online retailer outside of South Africa.
“The technological growth on the African continent has resulted in online shopping becoming a way of life for many citizens and due to the lack of customs challenges and high import tax present within the region, the sector is likely to expand rapidly,” he said.
He added that despite the continued growth and South Africa’s prominent e-commerce ranking, factors such as high import duties and stern customs regulations prevent consumers from benefiting from the expansive product choice and competitive prices abroad.
“If these obstacles are not addressed, South Africa’s e-commerce market may be in danger of falling behind other emerging e-commerce markets,” he said.
Nigeria’s Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector has grown exponentially over the past five years.
The recent implementation of its five-year National Broadband Plan, which will see Nigeria’s broadband internet penetration increasing by 80% by the end of 2018, will enable the country to likely surpass South Africa’s e-commerce market.
“With a population of over 160 million and an already thriving e-commerce market, Nigeria is becoming a game-changer in African e-commerce," said Heymans.
"We have seen a massive influx of requests with regards to our services in the region."
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