Africa’s next steps on the path to engaging in and benefiting from e-commerce were outlined by UNCTAD in its Nairobi Manifesto on the Digital Economy and Inclusive Development in Africa, issued at the conclusion of the first Africa eCommerce Week in Nairobi, Kenya.
The manifesto states: “The digital economy, including e-commerce, is proliferating in Africa, creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses to expand their market access and join value chains. Jobs are being created and new business models are emerging.
“At the same time, the evolving landscape is creating new risks and challenges. The development gains from e-commerce are not automatic, and the increased use of digital technologies can result in new divides and wider income inequalities.”
With its focus on the inclusive social and economic benefits to be made from new forms of trade, the Nairobi Manifesto charts a course for African countries with policy recommendations in nine critical areas: e-commerce readiness assessment and strategy formulation; information and telecommunications technology infrastructure and services; payment solutions; trade logistics, transport and trade facilitation; legal and regulatory frameworks; e-commerce skills development; access to financing; e-commerce and women’s empowerment; and measuring e-commerce and the digital economy.