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The Digital Economy and Ecommerce in Africa: Drivers for the African Free Trade Area?

The digital economy and ecommerce are developing fast in Africa. The forthcoming implementation of the African free trade area (AfCFTA) will encourage intra-African trade. These two forces combined, offer a new inclusive future for Africa.


  • Ecommerce is growing throughout Africa, but is mainly nationally focused at present. The AfCFTA will change that dynamic, and encourage greater emphasis on cross-border online sales throughout Africa. The AfCFTA, once implemented, provides an enormous single market with attractive economies of scale which will stimulate industrial growth and the digital economy within the Continent.
  • In order to allow the digital economy to work optimally, the AfCFTA negotiations must address existing challenges to the growth of cross-border ecommerce.
  • Those countries that seize the opportunities on offer by the AfCFTA will benefit the most. In order for them to do so will require skills, training and education at all levels from the aspiring entrepreneur wanting to set up an e-shop to the school child who needs to know what opportunities the digital economy offer their future.
  • Employment will grow as a result of the digital economy in Africa, so too will revenues for countries. The AfCFTA and the digital economy should create a virtuous circle for the future of Africa.

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Alastair Tempest

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