Innovations Session n°19: Online agrifood marketplaces: presence of African entrepreneurs and smallholders

Greater efforts are needed to help reduce inequalities in e-trade readiness and across the value chain. For African entrepreneurs to harness the benefits of the digital economy, Governments need to prioritize national digital readiness so that more local businesses can become producers in the digital economy. Building an enabling e-commerce ecosystem requires changes in public policy and business practices to improve the digital and trading infrastructure, facilitate digital payments and establish appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks for online transactions and security. Countries also need better capabilities to capture and harness data, and stronger regulatory frameworks for creating and capturing value in the digital economy, a report says (United Nations. COVID-19 and E-commerce: a global review. 2021. World Bank. The Measurement and Analysis of E-Commerce: Frameworks for Improving Data Availability. Michael J. Ferrantino and Emine Elcin Koten. The World Bank December 2019.).

Governments should encourage e-commerce usage by establishing supportive business laws to protect e-commerce transactions, regulating the Internet to make it a trustworthy business platform.

In addition to causing disruptions to large e-commerce platforms, the COVID-19 crisis also opened opportunities for new and niche platforms employing innovative business models and catering to segments traditionally excluded from large e-commerce platforms. Improving internet access in rural areas, developing more inclusive marketplaces that cater to women and various locations, and fostering an environment that promotes innovation and competition are needed (AgFunder. Africa AgriFoodTech Investment Report. 2022.).

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