The number of Kenyan internet shoppers has dropped massively.
Kenya is often seen as the hub of technology together with South Africa and Nigeria. It’s been one of the countries where startups have laid their hopes in hoping that their digital platforms would thrive. However, according to the UN’s latest e-commerce Index in Africa Kenya has dropped in rankings on the UN’s latest e-commerce Index in Africa.
Countries that surpassed Kenya were Tunisia, Ghana, Algeria and Libya who took the positions first to 6th place while Mauritius and South Africa retained their spots. The report stated that African countries have been lagging behind because of lack of internet access.
E-commerce divide is high.
According to UNCTAD less than a third of the population in Africa used the internet which is incomparable to Western Asia where three-quarters have access. This would also explain why several digital startups in Africa start their businesses only to later fail.
“The e-commerce divide remains huge,” said Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD’s division that prepares the annual index.
“Even among G20 countries, the extent to which people shop online ranges from 3% in India to 87% in the United Kingdom.”
So why did the drop happen in Kenya?
There was a drop in secure internet servers from 49 to 46. Although internet usage increased the number of internet shoppers reduced to 19 from 24% in 2020. Also, the reliability of postal delivery dropped a point.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has been encouraging digitization and has been pushing his government to embrace ICT which in return can connect people to online economic opportunities.
During a virtual meeting that President Uhuru and Google’s CEO had the president confirmed that the government is working to expand internet connectivity across the country.
Currently, the Kenyan government has set aside KSh 1.6 billion to upgrade the network in remote areas across 15 counties.