The digital trade era - Opportunities and challenges for developing countries: The case of Kenya

- 1 January 2021

Trade topics: Digital Trade, AfCFTA, Regional Integration, MSMEs

E-commerce has grown rapidly in Kenya, supported by laws governing information and communications technology (ICT) services, e-commerce transactions, data protection and access to information. The government has established one-stop shops for the provision of government services to citizens and for trade logistics. The country is well positioned to expand its digital trade with the establishment of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), given the policies outlined in the government’s Digital Economy Blueprint. The growth of digital trade will open up new opportunities for the provision of online services, promote export diversification, boost efficiency and growth in manufacturing, improve competition in the financial sector, increase access to market-relevant information and increase market access for micro, small and mediumsized enterprises (MSMEs). However, the potential of digital trade is constrained by lack of access to financial services, low income, limited broadband and fibre coverage, inadequate transport infrastructure and skills gaps. Kenya’s legal and regulatory framework is insufficient to protect against cybercrime, ensure privacy, support the interoperability of mobile money platforms and banks, promote consumers’ trust in online transactions, protect intellectual property and protect digital sites from liability for customers’ posts.