New York, NY (PRWEB) December 11, 2008
The reasons businesses and governments want to bring e-commerce to African countries are plentiful: improved consumer options, improved business for local companies and improved relations with the rest of the business world.
Unfortunately, the obstacles within the continent are just as numerous: lack of infrastructure, limited connectivity in rural areas, social and political issues, credit card and payment problems, as well as trading and logistical challenges.
Why Africa is struggling to achieve the same e-commerce benefit as more affluent areas in the world and how the continent can achieve it in the future was one of the focal points of a recent four-day event that QuestNet, a leading network marketing and global e-commerce company, held in Uganda. The event culminated with the grand finale of the company's ten year anniversary celebrations, which was the cause for the celebration.
The industry and training event was attended by many of dignitaries, including Ugandan Prime Minister Apolo Robin Nsibambi, who spoke to the congregation to officially close the event.
Africa's obstacles to overcome in implementing e-commerce were at the foreground of the event, ranging from infrastructure to connectivity challenges. All these have played their role in leaving the African continent fighting a losing battle against the rising challenge from Asia.
Internet connectivity has improved greatly in the past decade, but much work still needs to be done. As late as 1997, just 11 countries in Africa even had permanent Internet access. Today, all 54 countries can boast they are online in some capacity.
The problem lies in the reliability of the connectivity outside of the nation's capitals and other major cities. Approximately 75 percent of Africa's population lives in the rural areas and have limited or no access to the World Wide Web. This leads to Africa having a ratio of Internet user to non-user of about one to 250, as opposed to the rest of the world which is one out of 35.
The general consensus is the lack of development of reliable Internet and e-commerce is a detriment to Africa financial goals as it falls further behind more developed countries. The United Nations has publicly stated that building a telecommunications infrastructure is a key component to economic development.
But the scene isn't all gloomy. Tourism sites and companies have used e-commerce to improve business. With the Internet in every country, e-mail has become a typical form of transferring information. And even Internet caf