The Digital Economy and Ecommerce in Africa - Drivers of the African Free Trade Area?
This special report looks at the development of the digital economy, and in particular ecommerce, in Africa, against the backdrop of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The AfCFTA, when implemented, will encourage cross-border intra-African trade, facilitated by online sales and the digital economy. There are challenges to the development of ecommerce, such as limited access to the Internet, poor logistics, constraints on online payment systems and differing regulations. There is also the question of lack of manufacturing diversity in Africa. However, the AfCFTA’s single trading bloc will stimulate trade that offers attractive economies of scale to entrepreneurs. This will lead to greater productivity, innovation, employment, and – for governments – taxes. The digital economy is providing solutions to bank the unbanked and address the unaddressed throughout the continent, bringing overall inclusivity closer for women, the youth and rural communities.