E-commerce in West Africa
E-commerce in West Africa is growing fast. Today, this region has more than 260 start-ups active in more than 23 countries and show a significant evolution in the employment rate in e-commerce, which is expected to reach 3 million jobs related to online markets by 2025. Also, the Covid19 pandemic led several companies to take advantage of the situation and offer their products online with shipping service, which resulted in a fivefold increase in income than usual, thanks to the high demand and the transformation of consumer purchasing behavior caused by the Covid19 lockdown.
E-commerce is becoming more and more popular all over the world. Thanks to the emergence of payment tools; the ease of use of e-commerce platforms and the various advantages lent by vendors to buyers, such as the possibility to return the merchandise, in case the client doesn’t like it, people are more open to click the “Buy Now” button without hesitation or fear.
In Africa, E-commerce is still in its infancy, and this is due to several obstacles that prevent its insertion and development in the African continent. For instance, the predominance of cash payments, the lack and inefficacity of shipping companies and also the lack of trust between sellers and buyers… However, this domain is one of the fastest growing fields in Africa, after the owners of online stores became aware of the need to address and deal with the problems facing buyers and hindering them from completing the online purchase process. In this regard, online stores owners are now offering many solutions to e-buyers to encourage them to safely buy different goods online. Indeed, based on statistics from 2018; 67 million Africans own smartphones and the internet contributes 18 $ million to the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP)
West Africa has joined the world of e-commerce. Today, this region has more than 260 start-ups active in more than 23 countries and show a significant evolution in the employment rate in e-commerce, which is expected to reach 3 million jobs related to online markets by 2025. Also, the Covid19 pandemic led several companies to take advantage of the situation and offer their products online with shipping service, which resulted in a fivefold increase in income than usual, thanks to the high demand and the transformation of consumer purchasing behavior caused by the Covid19 lockdown
In the Senegalese market, e-commerce is developing on a large scale. In fact, there is an increasing tendency for merchants to set up online stores to expose their products to more potential buyers. On the other hand, buyers are now having more trust in online shopping, using online payment solutions tailored to each category. Also, the government is facilitating e-commerce by accelerating the implementation of e-commerce policies and reforms. In the same path, the Senegalese Ministry of Commerce has created an e-commerce platform bringing together the different websites of small and medium-sized enterprises to make it easy for people desiring to try buying products from home without moving to stores. To illustrate, we should draw attention to the fact that from less than 600,000 in 2014, the number of Senegalese online buyers has grown to over 2,000,000 buyers today
In addition, the Ivory Coast is strongly influenced by the digital revolution. Actually, this country of more than 25 million inhabitants; currently presents several investment opportunities regarding e-commerce. Furthermore, e-commerce platforms are becoming more and more numerous as well as many start-ups that offer different activities in the field of e-commerce. According to data from a study of 200 Ivorian costumers, the Ivorian e-commerce sector is motivated by the main reasons that push buyers to adopt online shopping, mainly the price and home delivery in order to reduce transport costs which can be very high, given that demand is oriented towards household appliances and electronics which represents more than 70% of online shopping
Considered as the country with the largest population in Africa (over 200 million inhabitant), and one of the youngest in the world, always in rapid growth, Nigeria presents a large digital audience. Also, Nigeria has the largest population of Internet users in Africa (more than 50% of the population in 2020 against only 1% internet users in 2000). E-commerce in this country has become even more prosperous after the Covid19 pandemic which has created a favorable environment for online merchants. Through various improvements in telecommunication services and e-banking, e-commerce in Nigeria continues to grow rapidly
On the whole, it should be mentioned that e-commerce continues to progress in Africa generally, which seems more and more prepared to participate in digital activity and take advantage of it, and in West Africa mainly which displays increasingly rapid growth. For this reason, and in order to keep good results and continue on the right path, African countries need to encourage the use of internet to develop digital commerce and try to find solutions and regulations to build trust and strengthen the links between e-merchants and online shoppers, while protecting the personal data of customers and the rights of both parties