The UN specialised agency for the postal sector plans to help African countries leverage on e-commerce in order to boost the continent’s incomes, officials said on Friday.
Bishar Hussein, Director-General of Universal Postal Union (UPU), said in Nairobi it had developed an e-commerce platform under the Ecom@Africa initiative where products made in Africa would be visible to the rest of the world.
“Our overall objective is to ensure that small scale entrepreneurs and especially those in rural and under served communities can sell their products on a digital market and improve their incomes,” Hussein said.
He said Ethiopia, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa and Tunisia had already signed on to the initiative.
UPU hopes that all African states will join the continental e-commerce platform.
He added that national postal agencies which had the largest distribution network in most countries would help deliver products to consumers at an affordable cost.
The director general said most online market places tended to stock products that were not made in Africa, and dominated by large firms.
He revealed that UPU was committed to ensuring that Africa truly benefited from the global shift towards e-commerce.
The UN agency said the e-commerce platform would also promote intra-Africa trade which was currently below its potential.
Hussein noted that national postal agencies together with national governments would be the key stakeholders in the e-commerce initiative.