State of E-commerce in Kenya: Challenges and opportunities for employment and wealth creation
Strathmore University held the e-commerce national conference following the first United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Africa e-commerce conference that was held in December 2018. The theme of the conference was “Catalyzing e-commerce for employment generation and wealth creation.
The e-commerce Kenya conference brought together 250 corporate heads, SME entrepreneurs and regulators and key industry players from both the public and private sectors to discuss the challenges limiting the growth and development of e-commerce in Kenya. SME entrepreneurs and businesses also had a chance to showcase their innovative products.
In his speech, the ICT Cabinet Secretary, Joe Mucheru, gave statistics on internet connection in Kenya. Almost 90% of the population have access to a reliable internet to enable them buy or sell products online. The number of online shoppers has surged annually by 18% since 2014, compared with the world average of 12%.
“The role of the government is to provide an enabling environment to allow innovation. Through its Ajira Digital programme, the government hopes to enable 1 million youth annually to benefit from digital work. The programme also aims to ensure that the mindsets of our citizens are changed to enable them recognize that digital work and transactions are a source of reliable, dignified income,” he said.
State of e-commerce infrastructure
The agenda-setting panel discussion focused on the state of e-commerce infrastructure in Kenya, and challenges and opportunities in Kenya. The panelists included Sharon Holi, Head of Masoko, Safaricom; Emeke E. Iweriebor, CEO, UBA Kenya; Joel Karibiu, CEO, Marketing Society of Kenya; Dr. George Njenga, Dean, Strathmore University Business School; Steve Okoth, Tax Director, BDO East Africa and Dr. Jane Munga, Policy Advisor in the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology.
“How do we ensure that the goodness of our land reaches all our sons and daughters who have set up their homes and legacies here? We have to set up centres all over Africa to help ease the transaction of e-commerce while the government needs to incentivize businesses to export Kenyan goods abroad by lowering the tax burden,” said Dr. Njenga.
Participants discussed ways to drive customer loyalty through supply chain excellence by continuously refreshing brands and optimizing supply chain to offer exceptional customer experience. Those in the logistics industry were keen to know what the tax man is doing to spur growth and reduce punitive measures in the logistics sector.
On the first day of the conference, the Strathmall e-commerce site by Strathmore students was officially launched. This will enable students to sell their merchandise online. Through the site, buyers can access phones, attire, food, and drinks as well as make local travel and accommodation arrangements.
This article was written by Wambui Gachari
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