African countries cautioned to prepare for implementing AfCFTA

The African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) of the UN Economic Commission of Africa (UNECA) and the Commission’s Subregional Office for Central Africa, in collaboration with the Commission of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), convened a virtual discussion on ‘maximising intra-African trade in the context of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA): The role of e-Commerce and the private sector’. The event was attended by economists, digital economy policy specialists, entrepreneurs, and a number of other stakeholders. Participants stressed that in order to start implementing the AfCFTA in January 2021, African countries must gear up to embrace smart strategies for e-commerce or lose out significantly on the promise of the fourth industrial revolution. They further recommended some strategies to address constraints on African e-commerce:

  •  Increasing connectivity to and the reliability of Internet access
  • Developing Africa-specific digital payment systems
  • Promoting investment in e-commerce services and start-ups
  • Formulating and adopting solid e-commerce regulations
  • Mending logistics which accompany e-commerce, such as mail distribution, parcel storage systems, and delivery routes
  • Improving overall country business climates