Industry Trends

The Acting Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Antonio Pedro, recently stated that e-commerce transactions in Africa continue to expand, with the region's e-commerce transactions expected to grow by 50% by 2025. The number of online shoppers is expected to increase from 334 million in 2021 to 519 million in 2025, a growth rate of over 56%.

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The rapid development of e-commerce in Africa is based on the continuous improvement of digital infrastructure and the flourishing development of mobile payment networks. In recent years, Africa's internet penetration rate has been increasing, with a current rate of about 40%, and approximately 465 million internet users. This number is expected to reach nearly 500 million by 2025. Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, and Morocco are among the countries with particularly rapid e-commerce development.

Taking advantage of the high smartphone penetration rate and high bank account opening rate, South Africa has around 24.3 million e-commerce users, with an annual income of $6.69 billion in the e-commerce market. According to industry estimates, the number of e-commerce users in South Africa is expected to reach 33.4 million by 2025. In Kenya, electronic payment methods have become widely popular in the past decade, attracting a large amount of investment and greatly promoting trade and employment. Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, with more than 200 million population, of which 60% are under 25 years old, is expected to reach a market size of $11.707 billion and a user base of more than 140 million by 2027.

According to African media analysis, while e-commerce transactions in Africa continue to expand, they also face problems such as inadequate infrastructure services such as warehousing and logistics, and difficulties in delivering goods "point-to-point" on time. To address this, several mainstream e-commerce platforms in Kenya have adopted a business-to-business trading model, targeting local informal retailers as their main customers. By making reasonable use of limited logistics and warehousing resources, they directly transport goods to shops near consumers, allowing consumers to buy desired products at their doorstep. According to statistics, the transaction volume completed by informal retailers currently accounts for more than half of Africa's retail transaction volume, becoming an important model for the development of e-commerce in Africa.

E-commerce is also an important sector for the growth of China-Africa economic and trade relations, as African goods are entering Chinese households through cross-border e-commerce platforms. In October 2019, Zhejiang China Small Commodity City Group Co., Ltd. and Alibaba launched a strategic cooperation on the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) and established the eWTP Yiwu Global Innovation Center-Rwanda Digital Trade Hub. This platform not only imports goods from China but also cooperates with the Rwandan government to help various Rwandan products enter the Chinese market. In November 2021, the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) identified the "Digital Innovation Project" and the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo established under FOCAC continues to make efforts in the e-commerce field. China and Africa will work together to promote "Silk Road e-commerce" cooperation. From late April to mid-May 2022, the "Fourth Double Products Online Shopping Festival and African Good Products Online Shopping Festival" was held, and more than 200 high-quality products from over 20 African countries successfully entered the Chinese market. With the development of infrastructure in Africa in recent years, the future of China-Africa e-commerce cooperation is promising.