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The next chapter of Ghana’s e-commerce revolution

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The first ever e-commerce website in Ghana was eshopafrica.com. It was founded by an English lady known as Cordelia Salter-Nour in 1999, with the website launching officially in February of 2001. Since then, the e-commerce industry has grown and gone through so many changes over the past 20 years.

Several online shopping platforms have come and go while a few others have evolved to meet international standards.  Nearly 80% of e-commerce websites in Ghana are less than 10 years old with Jumia standing out as one of the longest-serving e-commerce platforms in Ghana. The impact of this ecosystem cannot be overemphasized. However, what does the next chapter look like in Ghana’s e-commerce revolution? Below we look into this very important topic.

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Sustainable development –  E-commerce affects economic variables and growth rates. It leads to higher wages, higher standards of living for individuals, structuring markets and expanding marketing, increasing sales and exports, and thus increasing production and growth rates. With this in mind, the next chapter of e-commerce growth will involve a lot of focus on sustainability. Ensuring the environment is safe while creating job opportunities for the youth and inspiring women to actively take leadership roles in several facets of our economy including e-commerce will be at the forefront of many strategies and agendas.

SME growth/partnerships: E-commerce provides an opportunity to break free of the limitation that physical outlets impose, enabling SMEs to sell their items of inventory stock to the world. e-commerce can expand SME networks across geographical borders to reach a greater number of countries. To this end, the next chapter of Ghana’s e-commerce revolution will involve many small businesses utilizing online platforms and accessing various strategies and partnerships to grow their businesses. Policymakers as well as other stakeholders need to partner to increase opportunities and ensure that businesses get the needed exposure and funding to develop.

Smartphone adoption: In the third quarter of 2021, 99.7 percent of internet users in Ghana aged 16 to 64 years owned a mobile phone of any type. According to the same survey, 99.3 percent had smartphones, while another 17.8 percent owned feature phones. E-commerce growth is directly linked to smartphone adoption. In Ghana today, nearly everyone above 16 years owns a smartphone. A few teenagers also have smartphones and tablets which has helped the growth of e-commerce.

It is estimated that in the foreseeable future, smartphone adoption will increase exponentially as Ghanaians will now use more than one smartphone in order to match up to the ever-changing speed of managing both individual and business accounts.

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Internet penetration: Ghana’s internet penetration rate stood at 53.0 percent of the total population at the start of 2022. Smartphone adoption has a positive effect on internet penetration as more and more smartphone users utilize the internet in accessing websites, downloading apps, and navigating social media. In the next chapter of Ghana’s e-commerce revolution, this will be key with telecommunication networks and internet service providers at the forefront of this. Speed, affordability, and accessibility to rural areas should be critically looked at as the industry expands to all corners of the country.

 

Regulations – One very critical aspect of e-commerce growth that we usually overlook is policy-making and legislation. While the industry is fairly new and there may not be any steady laws or many regulations on its usage. In Ghana, there are some government agencies and other associations that regulate the e-commerce sector but it is likely that with an expansion in categories and different products requiring different forms of quality control checks and accreditation, more legal frameworks and laws will come into force. Companies and individuals have to be prepared to understand and practice these regulations. Collaborations between these law-making agencies and the private sector will go a long way in ensuring that e-commerce platforms, SMEs, and consumers are always compliant.

 

The next few years are massive for e-commerce growth and development in Ghana. All stakeholders need to be ready to play their part in achieving this growth. Innovation and improvement in technology will greatly benefit everyone while our economy may see a great boost provided everyone contributes their quota. E-commerce is the future of Ghana and Africa.

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