Although Africa might still be attributing a small proportion of total retail sales to electronic commerce – e-commerce – globally, the industry is growing and Botswana can take the lead in being e-commerce hub in Africa, experts have said.
Local and international business magnates made the charge during the monthly Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) coffee session on Friday facilitated under the theme’ The Science of Entrepreneurship’.
It was noted that Botswana as one of the growing economies holds an enormous untapped potential of leveraging on online-led business which is fully achievable.
BIH has been cited as a potential driver of robust digitalization entrepreneurship especially on the youthful entrepreneurs who are mostly running as Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
South African entrepreneur Rich Shukane – CEO of the New Age Millionaires – said BIH is well positioned to stimulate e-commerce due to its high-class Science and Technology Park that comprises some of the world’s leading technology-driven knowledge-based companies.
Shukane said Botswana has a rapid internet penetration – an advantage that young aspiring entrepreneurs can tap into so as to grow their businesses on the growing online space.
“Entrepreneurship is thriving in innovation in these latest times where the rest of the world is shifting towards investing in digital technology almost in all sectors of the economy. The BIH Science and Technology Park is arguably the right step to turn Botswana into a regional leader in doing innovative-based business,” he added.
The founder of Leadership Nurturing Hannah Lecha urged local entrepreneurs to shift their minds in their way of doing business; challenging them to tap into various opportunities that come with evolving trends in the way of doing business.
Lecha, who is also a John Maxwell Certified Team member, said tourism and hospitality businesses stand a good position in the e-commerce space; adding that Botswana boost of business opportunities in quite a number of sectors that are untapped as well.
“The Science of entrepreneurship is about coming up with innovative business ideas to be able to have a successful enterprise. Moreover, a success behind the business idea is bankable on knowledge and education of the business sector that one is keen to establish,” she quipped.
Another South African entrepreneur Linda Malinga – founder and CEO of OEC Landscape – insisted that local entrepreneurs can franchise some of the leading online retail outlets such as Amazon and eBay.
Research indicates that global e-commerce has been expanding with Nigeria and South Africa being top leaders in the online market in Africa.
Locally, the 2014 ICT survey conducted by Statistics Botswana (SB) indicates that the uptake of e-commerce is still very small in Botswana despite high internet consumption. The survey reflected that tertiary educated individuals used more e-commerce than other categories in 2014, making up 78.7% of all e-commerce users.
Employees that paid in cash constituted the largest proportion of e-commerce users, making 70.1% of the total. Furthermore, the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) 2017 report shows that e-commerce acceptance is imminent as Internet usage is on the rise, as by then 64.2% of the population consumed fixed and mobile broadband subscriptions.