China’s digital economy has experienced massive growth in the past ten years, and it is a good example for Africa as the continent moves toward strengthening e-commerce and evolving digital economy. African countries should work with China and learn from it to meet the challenges of the current IT infrastructure and develop its digital economy.
According to the World Economic Forum, more than 40% of e-commerce transactions worldwide occur in China, compared with only 1% ten years ago. China’s dominant position is due to the explosive growth of mobile payments, and the proportion of mobile internet users has soared from 25% in 2013 to 68% in 2016.
On the other hand, according to the Africa eCommerce Week’s Nairobi manifesto, Africa’s online shoppers reached 21 million in 2017, less than 2% of the global total. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development estimates that the e-commerce market in Africa was $5.7 billion in 2017, less than 0.5% of GDP, far below the global average of more than 4%.
According to the manifesto, in some African countries, only 10% of the population has access to the internet, and a large proportion of the population is still not served. However, more and more micro, small and medium-sized enterprises are recognizing the importance of digitalization in participating in domestic and international value chains.
Cavince Adhere, Senior Deputy Corporate Communications Officer at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, said that more than 40% of global business activity takes place in China, indicating that China is a model worth learning from.
He said that African countries such as Kenya have experienced a revolution in mobile money services and have an advantage in harnessing the potential of e-commerce, especially after mobile phone penetration and internet access.
Adhere also said the high penetration rate of mobile phones, the convenience of internet access, the specialization of e-commerce zones, and the increasing activeness of users of the internet and mobile trading platforms are the key factors driving the development of e-commerce in China. African countries can learn from that.
African countries have many opportunities to work with China to build e-commerce and the digital economy. JUMORE, a world leading digital platform, also makes its own efforts in China-Africa trade and African e-commerce. JUMORE launched the National Pavilion for over 157 major counties and regions around the world including African countries. It connects African advantageous industries and products with China and global markets, broadens clients’ channels and expands economic and trade exchanges. Moreover, during CIIE, JUMORE conducted business exchanges with Kenyan enterprises and the China-Africa Chamber of Commerce.
JUMORE aims to help eliminate the digital divide facing African countries and help them seize the opportunities of an inclusive e-commerce ecosystem.