Mahmood Al-Bastaki,

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a central role in developing economies across Africa, driving growth, creating jobs and encouraging innovation.

Micro, small and medium enterprises make up over 90% of businesses on the continent and provide 60% of all jobs.

In Rwanda, for example, SMEs account for a whopping 98% of businesses and 41% of private sector jobs. To ensure these businesses continue to thrive and reach their full potential in an increasingly competitive global marketplace, digital solutions are crucial to ensure they can thrive and support the future economic growth of the world. ‘Africa.

In particular, new digital systems will be at the heart of accelerating trade and accessing new markets for African entrepreneurs.

Now is the time for businesses, governments and other investment players to find ways to support local businesses.

These are the same companies that will become the essential manufacturers and exporters needed to take domestic trade and international exports to the next level.

Logistics solutions and e-commerce will improve local business

The availability of easily accessible e-commerce platforms will be a crucial factor in achieving African growth and increasing trade.

Businesses and customers need to be able to find and interact with each other easily, while businesses need safe and secure platforms to conduct their transactions.

Such platforms must also be supported by a network of logistics infrastructure to move goods from one place to another, encouraging the growth of regional trade and supporting companies in their expansion plans.

Africa is home to 16 landlocked countries, including Rwanda, and roads, railways, ports, free zones, and delivery providers will be key to creating widespread market demand for once local products and jobs throughout. throughout the supply chain.

Corridors that connect landlocked regions to the coast and beyond, reinforced by digital and physical infrastructure, are the way forward.

As an international trade facilitator, DP World recently launched, a global wholesale e-commerce platform, targeting Africa as a first step.

The importance of the logistics aspect of this new e-commerce platform cannot be underestimated. Naturally, products sold on should be stored as wholesale or retail inventory, and once purchased, should be shipped to their intended destinations.

By partnering with the supply chain industry through DP World, meets the expectations of customers and suppliers.

E-commerce businesses need to invest in warehousing and distribution centers to lower these costs for SMEs that simply don’t have the capital to build their own supply chain networks.

The launch of these integrated services has the potential to create new digital trade corridors across Africa, while remaining affordable. SMEs in the region will be able to find and connect with new business partners abroad, while in the future large companies will be able to reach new customers regardless of their location – domestic and international.

Such platforms will enable business owners in Africa and help realize the continent’s vision of becoming the most digitally activated global economy, while accelerating the country’s recovery from COVID-19.

Digital security as business environments grow

Of course, successful e-commerce is not feasible in any market if the safety and security of transactions is not guaranteed.

As digital platforms offer exciting business opportunities, new data protection concerns are emerging. Half of African countries have passed legislation to protect consumer privacy, while 17 other countries have bills in the works, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Most of them are similar to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) issued by the European Union, which sets the standard in this market.

By partnering with payment gateway service providers, e-commerce platforms help small businesses and individual entrepreneurs make secure online payments in regions where this was simply not possible before.

These platforms provide the digital infrastructure – a payment processing portal – which means SMBs can easily accept customer debit or credit card purchases, while protecting financial data in accordance with the highest international standards. .

Businesses need to ensure that the consumer data they collect is kept secure, that participants have consented to their data being collected, and that the data is used in the way it was intended.

Obviously, the most sensitive data is collected when customers make payments, so it’s essential that it’s done securely. recognizes these realities and their impact on exporters and traders and therefore offers the highest levels of data protection.

By keeping personal data on the most secure servers, ensuring staff receive regular data security training, investing in the latest protection software, and using only the most recent systems, we make sure that all of our customers have no safety issues.

This protection is the key to the success of a newly digitized company as it begins its regional and international business journeys.

If entrepreneurs and SME owners can be empowered through access to new secure technology like, they have more opportunities to participate in online businesses and cross-border commerce.

As large companies are already making their mark through e-commerce across the continent, new, more inclusive platforms are starting to emerge, impacting the lives of ordinary people who run smaller operations.