Technology As A Catalyst For E-Commerce Development In Africa
This is Africa!
Where farming and fishing are perceived to be the main occupations of many local people.
Where many rural areas do not have access to electricity and most urban cities cannot afford constant power. Where smartphones and advanced electrical gadgets were seen to be cut for only the educated and rich.Where e-commerce is spreading like wildfire and promises to be a sure way of developing this great continent.
However,e-commerce does not stand in isolation. It comes with several facets and is backed by several policies and processes which contribute largely to its success anywhere in the world. One easily identifiable factor in the development and progress of e-commerce in Africa is technology.Many forms of technological advancements have emerged over the years and is contributing greatly to the massive growth of ecommerce and online business activity.Let’s now take a close look at technology as a catalyst for e-commerce development in Africa.
In assessing the impact that technology has on e-commerce, we must first look at the factors that influence the scope of e-commerce. Talk of internet access,which is probably the most important element in this chain. Unavailability of fast, consistent internet services has a declining effect on e-commerce in more ways than one.These days, hotel bookings ,item purchases,money transfers,payment of goods and services and many other e-commerce processes are done online. Without internet access,nothing in the ecommerce world will work and business slows. In an attempt to get reliable,fast and consistent internet supply for smooth operations in e-commerce,technology comes to play. The emergence of many satellites,wireless routers,broadband cable systems,mi-fi’s and modems have made the transmission of internet very easy. Sometimes,with just the plug-in of a small device,one can get internet access almost anywhere in the world.Day in day out,new and improved technological advancements are made with regards ro internet carriers and devices. This therefore promises to boost ecommerce in Africa as many positive heights will be reached and Africa will grow from strength to strength.
Payment systems for all online purchases is another area where technology comes a long way to help e-commerce development. In every line of business,the receipt of funds is critical and every business minded person or company pays great attention to this. There are various forms of payment systems that can be used. This includes account based payment systems such as credit cards,Debit card payments,mobile phone payments (mobile money,MPESA) and online banking. Another payment system is the electronic currency system which also utilizes technology in many forms.For example,the smart card systems which are generally used for small payments involve the use of microchips and other technology based elements. Also the use of other softwares to manage funds and transfer monies is a result of improving technologies.
The end point of many e-commerce processes is the receipt of the product or service by the customer. Satisfying the customer is termed the most important thing to most producers and businesses.Delivering the product or service to the customer in a well packaged and convenient way is very crucial. In the case of offline deliveries, the use of motorbikes and vehicles/vans to deliver products quickly is a result of many years of technology.
With each passing day, more improved transportation systems are being developed that will greatly facilitate smooth processes in the ecommerce world. Moreover,with online deliveries,technology has made it possible to transfer large sums of data from one company to the other or host very important data on servers and other remote systems. Technology has also made it possible for companies to provide secure data systems and offer online solutions to other individuals and companies without having to be physically present.
All said and done,one cannot overemphasize the importance of technology to ecommerce in Africa. Africa is evolving,businesses are growing and ecommerce is taking over. Technology is key to this growth and development. Africa must therefore adjust to developing our own technologies that can support ecommerce systems in Africa. The future is bright and we must all rise up to the challenges that emerge as we strive for technological advancements and ecommerce development.