Kenya has dropped in rankings on the UN’s latest e-commerce Index in Africa, which indicates a country’s readiness to support online shopping. That is a drop from the country’s fourth position on the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s Business-to-Consumer (B2C) e-commerce Index 2019 released in 2020.
Kenya was surpassed by Tunisia, Algeria, Ghana, and Libya, who were ranked three, four, five, and six, while Mauritius and South Africa retained their top spots. According to the report, African countries have a challenge in catching up on policies and internet access.
On the latter, UNCTAD said less than a third of the population in Africa uses the Internet, which is far off when compared to places like Western Asia, where three-quarters have access.
“The e-commerce divide remains huge,” said Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD’s division that prepares the annual index.
“Even among G20 countries, the extent to which people shop online ranges from 3% in India to 87% in the United Kingdom.”
Kenya’s drop was due to the drop in secure internet servers from 49 to 46. While internet penetration remained the same, other indicators like internet use jumped from 18 to 23, and the number of internet shoppers reduced to 19 from 24 percent the year prior. Also, the reliability of postal delivery dropped a point.
However, the country’s overall 2020 UNCTAD B2C e-commerce index ranking stayed the same – 88 out of 152 countries.
The report highlights the important need for governments to ensure citizens don’t miss out on e-commerce opportunities.
The Kenyan government has recently been vocal in pushing ICT to aid in economic transformation. Just a week ago, President Uhuru Kenyatta said they are working “to ensure technology is embraced, holistically by all business sectors…”
He also spoke of how his government is “aggressively expanding internet connectivity” to create digital opportunities for the youth during a virtual meeting with Google and Alphabet’s CEO, Sundar Pichai.
The government has set aside Ksh 1.6 billion to upgrade the network in remote areas across 15 counties.