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Bringing Central Africa’s e-Commerce Up to Speed

Central Africa lags behind other regions in the continent in e-commerce but the region can progress quickly if governments implement policies to hasten the development of digital and e-commerce services, a new report says. The report by GSMA—an organization that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide—and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) identifies areas where action is required to increase access to e-commerce services, and digital services in general. Largely driven by expanding internet access, increasing uptake of digital payments, and changing consumer habits, e-commerce is scaling up in Africa. In the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), a body of 11 countries, mobile subscriber penetration rose from 18% in 2000 to 42% by the end of 2019 and is set to reach 46% by 2025, the report says. The number of mobile internet users was 52 million in 2020 and is expected to reach 86 million by 2025, it adds.