Tanzania, Malawi prepare to reap benefits of digital economy
UNCTAD has assessed the state of play in the two countries and identified policy actions required to harness e-commerce for development.
Tanzania is well-positioned to integrate into the global digital economy, thanks to its growing economy and a rapidly developing innovation ecosystem, a new UNCTAD assessment says.
The assessment of the country’s readiness to engage in e-commerce has revealed its potential to become a leading contender in online trade in east Africa, especially on mobile finance and digital payment fronts.
However, the lack of a national e-commerce strategy is holding Tanzania back, the assessment observes.
Also, the country has neither mainstreamed e-commerce into its national and sectoral development plans nor into inter-ministerial or public-private sector dialogue, further throttling progress.
“The coronavirus crisis has brought to the fore the value of e-commerce and digital solutions in enabling economic activities and broadening options for consumers in times of lockdowns,” said Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD’s division on technology and logistics.
“E-commerce can help maintain trade flows, an important part of tackling the fallout from the crisis, especially in least developed countries.”
Following the assessment, UNCTAD recommends several policy actions to grow Tanzania’s e-commerce sector.
They include crafting a national e-commerce strategy, enhancing information, communications and technology (ICT) infrastructure, creating a conducive legislative climate and providing incentives to startups.
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