South Africa Opens Lockdown for Ecommerce
The EFSA has engaged government since the start of the lockdown and had produced a number of letters and papers for government pointing out the public health benefits of home delivery and concerns that SA ecommerce was being left behind by the strict rules on ecommerce. This lead to Minister for Trade Patel issuing directions on 14 April allowing the online sale of all products (except alcohol and tobacco). EFSA has worked with the government to clarify the rules that must be followed by ecommerce companies and sole proprietors when preparing and fulfilling orders, in collaboration with the SA Express Parcel Association (SEAPA) and the Call Centre Association (CMCG). These rules are available on our website (www.ecomafrica.org).
African ecommerce is getting a much-needed boost from the lockdowns. Online sales in African cities faced resistance from potential customers simply not used to or trusting of internet services. But thanks to COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, consumers in many parts of the Continent are exploring ecommerce out of necessity and safety. Data is difficult to find, however. Referring to South Africa, World Wide Worx estimates that online B2C turnover for the first time has exceeded 2% of total retail trade already in 2020, due both to the increase in ecommerce activities and the decrease in bricks and mortar retail sales, and is likely to grow fast for the rest of the year.
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