Pan-African e-Commerce Initiative – Boosting African Digital Trade in Africa

The Project at A Glance

The Pan-African E-Commerce Initiative’s project aims to enhance the environment for cross-border digital trade in certain AfCFTA countries, particularly for Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs).

International Economics (IEC), in collaboration with Consortium Partner, GOPA Consulting, is offering technical assistance to boost African digital trade and to improve the framework conditions for companies in selected African countries to participate in cross-border e-commerce.

What We Found

Africa has witnessed a significant increase in e-commerce in recent years, although this growth is starting from a relatively low level. Some African countries show bigger progress in terms of e‐commerce readiness and adoption, however in the global context, their scores are only aligned to the global average. MSMEs seem to benefit only to a very limited extent from the uptake in e-commerce, particularly across borders. Barriers for MSMEs to effectively participate in cross-border e-commerce are, for example, access to training, the availability of cross-border electronic payment systems, regulatory framework conditions or the protection of consumers on electronic platforms.

Against this background, the project seeks to enhance the cross-border digital trade environment in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and EAC region, with a focus on empowering Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs). The aim is to make the environment conducive to participation by African companies in national and cross-border digital trade and support African MSMEs to profit from digital trade. The project targets intermediary organizations and MSMEs, aiming to implement measures at pan-African, regional, and national levels to foster a conducive environment for cross-border e-commerce participation, particularly for MSMEs, including those led by women.

Our Strategy and Impact

Against this background, our Consortium is working with the PeCI team to provide following assistance:

  • Deliver training courses and advisory services for digital trade;
  • Strengthen the role and contribution made by private and public actors to the implementation of regional strategies for cross‐border digital trade;
  • Improve the cooperation between private and public actors at pan‐African level in the area of digital trade;
  • Establish exchange on innovative approaches for improving participation by MSMEs in digital trade; and
  • Promote environmentally sustainable approaches in e‐commerce to create synergies between the digital and green transformation of the economy on the African continent.

Our Core Solutions

Africa’s trade competitiveness continues to be limited by both domestic factors and global trade barriers. Non-tariff measures, unaffordable intra-continental transport costs, poor connectivity in general, and weak infrastructure (from energy, water to roads) will remain some of Africa’s leading challenges over the next years. With the accelerating digitalising of the global economy, cross-border e-commerce has the potential to significantly contribute to the Continent’s ambitions.

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Project Areas

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