World Bank and WTO establish “Digital Trade for Africa”: $59.18 billion in 2027…

The World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Bank launched a new endeavour titled “Digital Trade for Africa” on February 24, 2024, to address the continent’s underrepresentation in the global e-commerce sector, which currently accounts for just 1% of total digital transactions worldwide. This initiative was revealed during the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to assist African nations harness the prospect of digital commerce for job creation, economic development, and poverty reduction.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the WTO’s Director-General, underscored the rapid growth of digital commerce globally and pointed out the vast potential for Africa, remarking the continent’s mere 1% share in digital services trade as a chance rather than a setback. The initiative arises from a joint orientation note by the World Bank and the WTO presented to African policymakers in July 2023, urging the creation of a regulatory environment conducive to e-commerce growth.

The project seeks to strengthen digital infrastructure, including physical connectivity and electronic payment systems, and establish a comprehensive regulatory framework across Africa. It also aims to identify and overcome barriers to digital trade, offer public policy guidance, and develop projects financed by the World Bank.

With notable room for growth, Africa’s e-commerce sector is poised for expansion. TechCabal Insights, a digital economy consultancy, forecasts that the revenue of e-commerce platforms in Africa will climb to $59.18 billion by 2027, up from $32.49 billion in 2022 and $13.58 billion in 2018. This growth represents a crucial opportunity for Africa to integrate with the development of the Continental Free Trade Area (ZLECAF), further enhancing the continent’s economic prospects.


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