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e-Commerce in Africa to grow by 50% by 2025 – UNECA

by Haruna Gimba
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By Asmau Ahmad

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), says e-commerce in Africa is set to grow by 50 per cent by 2025.

The Acting Executive Secretary, UNECA, Mr Antonio Pedro, this at the opening of the 9th Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development in Niamey, Niger on Tuesday.

Pedro said investing in capacity building would be critical to deliver on the growth of e-commerce in the continent hence, investing in capacity building would be critical to deliver on this promise.

According to Pedro, by adopting appropriate standards and emphasising the value of sustainable value chains, we can maximise the job creation potential on our continent.

The acting executive secretary also said large scale infrastructure investments must be accompanied by sound policies and strategies both nationally and regionally.

“Africa’s accelerated transformation will also be fuelled by digital technologies.

“And we must end the digital divide, particularly along gender lines, to ensure true inclusion, and to truly unleash the potential of the fourth industrial revolution.”

He said the 2023 forum on sustainable development would have renewed momentum to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2063.

“But we must accelerate, and to do so we need to recognise the obstacles to be overcome.  This year we are revisiting the Sustainable Development Goals 6, 7, 9, 11 and 17.”

Pedro focused on SDG 9 which is “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable Industrialisation and foster innovation.”

“The outcome of the African Union (AU) Summit on Industrialisation and Economic Diversification provides us with a roadmap to realise SDG 9 in Africa.”

Meanwhile, he said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement was the framework under which Africa could ensure an African-owned transformation.

He, however, said the forum would “have a deeper reflection on how the Africa Regional Collaborative Platform can help accelerate implementation of the SDGs on the continent.”

“It will be a moment to discuss how the 28 national AfCFTA strategies that have been completed so far with our support, and under the leadership of the African Union Commission, can be mainstreamed in the work of the UN Country Teams.”

He also spoke on the UN Secretary-General’s outline of an ambitious plan for SDG stimulus, aiming to increase the resources available for investing in the SDGs.

“This will require a fit-for-purpose international development architecture,” Pedro said.

Also speaking, the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa, urged the forum to articulate concrete proposals on SDGs and the Agenda 2063.

Nsanzabaganwa said the implementation of both agenda was to be based on implementation plans that were African-owned and designed at the continental, regional, national and local levels.

“We need to dramatically upscale financing available for both the SDGs and the Agenda 2063 and these findings needs are also to address climate resilience.

“We need to go beyond development aid and this is at the heart of the green recovery action plan.

“Upscaling finance is also to improve domestic resource mobilisation and exploring innovative sources of financing,” she said.

The deputy chairperson also said accelerating implementation of the AfCFTA and addressing Africa’s sustainable industrialisation and economic diversification would be key.

She, however, stressed that resilience must be built into the delivery of the SDGs and the Agenda 2063 and the implementation of both must be with and for the youth.

“The youth should, therefore, be actively engaged in and empowered for the design in the implementation policies, plans and programmes for both agenda.

“In so doing, implementation will leverage the creativity and energy of our young people,” she said.

Nsanzabaganwa called for the strengthening of partnerships to deliver on the goals of the SDGs and Agenda 2063.

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