E-commerce globally has and is a growingsector which has so far yielded positive results. In the early 1990’s there wasbarely any activity online as the Internet was a fairly new concept. In 1999,300 million users were online and about 75 million of them purchased goods andservices online worth $110 billion. This grew rapidly and by 2013 the amount inonline transactions had grown to $1.25 trillion (World Trade Organization,2013). Keeping in mind these global growth trends, it is clear e-commerce hasthe potential to drastically affect developing countries and Africa inparticular, “on a macroeconomic level, ecommerce can contribute to economicgrowth by spurring incremental consumption in locations where a lack ofadequate brick-and-mortar options has created pent-up demand” (Manyika et al.,2013).
E-commerce has the inherent ability to greatly influence the continentin a much bigger way than in developed countries due to its underdevelopedretail infrastructure. This platform can significantly minimize start-up and runningcosts of digital dependent business, thereby reducing prices and increasingaccess to goods and services online. There are also opportunities for “lastmile” logistics companies that can provide services to online retailers such asdelivery and payments. According to Manyika et al. (2013) If current growthrates hold, the economic potential in the retail sector could grow to between$16 and $23 billion annually with e-commerce taking about 10% of retail salesin Africa’s larger economies by 2025 (Manyika et al., 2013).
Current positive trends in the supportingtechnology and communication sector, such as high mobile and phone penetration,have created an enabling environment for e-commerce to thrive. In Africa, 720million people have access to phones and 167 million have Internet access(Manyika et al., 2013) 2 . In Kenya, there are about 20.22 million mobile phonesubscribers and Internet penetration is also currently at 13 million users UCCreport with mobile data subscriptions making up most of it.