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11.12.2009 Business & Finance

African e-Commerce Operators Meet In Ghana

By Daily Guide
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Experts in the sub-region have gathered in Ghana to considers ways of developing the e-commence industry on the African continent.

The two-day conference, which is being hosted by the Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet), Ghana's key player in the e-Ghana project, was attended by operators who considered various ways of improving e-commerce services in Africa.

E-commerce involves the use of innovative Information Technology (IT) solutions to improve efficiency in e-governance processes, distance education, revenue collection and financial transactions, which is a novelty in Africa.

It is viewed as an innovation that would change the operations of African businesses.

Connectivity and software were considered as Africa's main problem; but currently all the capital cities in Africa have adequate connectivity.

E-commerce in Africa is said to be worth about $31 million, with $30 million coming from South Africa.

In the quest to develop services in this direction, various African countries are making efforts to develop organizational structures to coordinate e-commence services.

Currently, members of the African e-commerce operators are looking at deploying a single window, which would be a seamless electronic process that facilitates trade and promotes revenue mobilization.

During the conference, the operators would also review various technical programmes and address the building of their organizational capacities, among others.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the third meeting of the African Alliance of e-commence operators, Haruna Iddrisu, the Minister of Communication said, “Ghana's adoption of the national ICT for accelerated development policy would go a long way to support the development and improvement of e-commerce services.”

To make the policy functional, the minister explained that an Electronic Transaction Act had been enacted while an Electronic Governing bill and Data Protection Act are also under consideration.

 “We have also deployed e-payment systems to enhance the portability of money and financial intermediation,” he added.

To obviate one of the major ICT infrastructural constraints, he mentioned that government was deploying a national broadband backbone by constructing a national fibre optic network.

Hon. Haruna Iddrisu stated that “Africa needs to work out a strategy for building capacity and strengthen regulatory practices that govern ICT operations in other to bridge the digital divide on the continent.”

Notey Omaboe, Executive Chairman of GCNet, in an address, hinted that the deployment of e-commerce services was aimed at simplifying the conduct of business transactions in Ghana by promoting the competitiveness of businesses within the global economy.

He revealed that by the early part of next year, his outfit would introduce an innovation that would track goods as it moves through the supply chain.

In line with this, GCNet would attach an electronic stapler to each consignment as a means of monitoring transit goods.

The Unique Consignment Reference number (UCR), which would be administered by the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), would make the country the first in Africa to use such a technology.

By Emelia Ennin Abbey

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