The United Nations says Zimbabwe has slipped six places to 115 out of 152 economies on their bid to engage in online commerce.
According to the 2019 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Business-to-Consumer (B2C) E-commerce Index, the country’s 2019 Index value stood at 33.1 and the UNCTAD B2C E-commerce Index measures an economy’s preparedness to support online shopping. The index consists of four indicators that are highly related to online shopping and for which there is wide country coverage. The extent to which people shop online in a country is correlated with the value of the index, with an adjusted R squared value of 0.8. The 2019 index includes one additional country, Tajikistan, expanding its coverage to 152 economies.
At number 109 in 2018, the southern African nation this time scored badly in areas such as secure internet servers (normalized, 2018) at 37, share of individuals using the Internet (2018 or latest) at 27 and Universal Postal Union (UPU) postal reliability score at 13. However, share of individuals with an account (15+, 2017) stood at 55.
Experts raises the need for the southern African nation to boost internet penetration in order to grow e-commerce.
Only 11 African countries made it in this year’s top 100. Mauritius took number 58 from 55 in 2018. Tunisia at 70 from 79. Our biggest trading partner South Africa moves up to 76 from 77. One of Africa’s biggest economy, Nigeria slipped four places to 79. Kenya was at 88 from 89. Namibia at 94 from 103. Morocco at 95 from 81. Tanzania moved 14 places up to 96. Ghana at 97 from 85. Senegal at 98 from 108 in 2018. Botswana remained unchanged at number 10.
Least developed countries (LDCs) take up 18 of the 20 bottom positions in the index.
“The wide gaps between countries with the highest and the lowest level of readiness need to be addressed in order to build an inclusive digital economy for the many and not just for the few,” the report stated.
The index scores 152 nations on their readiness for online shopping, worth an estimated US$3.9 trillion globally in 2017, up 22% from the previous year.
Countries are scored on the access to secure internet servers, the reliability of postal services and infrastructure, and the portion of their population that uses the internet and has an account with a financial institution or mobile-money-service provider.
UNCTAD’s index also highlights the need to improve the reliability and availability of statistics, especially in developing countries. For instance, internet user data for 2018 were available for less than half of the countries at the time of index calculations. And the latest data on bank and mobile-money accounts are from 2017.
Director of UNCTAD’s unit that prepares the annual index Shamika Sirimanne said Countries with poor digital economy make poor uninformed decisions adding that given data limitations, this year’s index should be considered provisional.