Industry Expert Calls for Formation of E-Commerce Academies in Africa to Create Skills and Opportunities within the Sector

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A section of industry experts, leaders and stakeholders from across Africa have called for deeper investments in electronic commerce (e-commerce).

Senegal’s Ministry of Trade, Informal Sector, Consumer Affairs, Local Product Promotion and SMEs, recently chaired a meeting in Nairobi a panel organized by the African Performance Institute led by Ibrahima Nour Eddine Diagne from the Africa of United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation.

During his keynote address, Mr. Diagne also spoke about the challenge of making E-commerce a lever for creating value for African economies. He stressed that most of the barriers to electronic commerce have been gradually contained over the past decade.

He put forward some ideas to facilitate Africa’s positioning in e-commerce.

Among these ideas are the establishment in each country of an E-commerce Academy to strengthen skills and the establishment of an E-commerce Factory to concentrate all capacities, information and skills in a single place in order to support entrepreneurs but also to protect consumers.

On his part, Senegalese Trade Minister, Alioune Sarr described the issue of electronic commerce as a national, regional, continental and global issue.

The panel was held on the margins of the African E-commerce Week organized for the first time in Africa by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The high-level panel counted with the participation of Ms. Arancha Gonzales, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), Ms. Ana B. Hinojosa, Director of Compliance and Facilitation – Director of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Mr. Kolawole Sofola, Senior Programme Officer – Multilateral Trade (ECOWAS Commission) and Mr. Diagne, who is also President of African Performance Institute (API).

On her part, Ms. Ana Hinojosa, Director of the World Customs Organization highlighted the growing importance of cross-border electronic commerce and the challenges it poses for customs administrations, which must ensure security, facilitation and revenue collection.

She pointed out that not all countries had the same priority with regard to electronic commerce. She also mentioned that the services component was not covered by the WCO’s work on electronic commerce. She also believes that training and awareness are of great importance in promoting risk-reducing behaviours.

Mr. Kolawole Sofola of ECOWAS closed the panel by placing renewed emphasis on skills, intellectual property and investment in e-commerce support infrastructure.

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