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Africa's top seven e-commerce friendly countries

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South Africa ranks in sixth place among Africa's most e-commerce friendly countries.
South Africa ranks in sixth place among Africa's most e-commerce friendly countries.

As Internet penetration rapidly spreads across Africa, e-commerce represents huge potential that has previously been untapped, says Africa Internet Group (AIG), which has ranked Africa's top seven e-commerce friendly countries.

According to McKinsey and Co. consumer facing industries in Africa are predicted to grow by over $400 million in 2020, says AIG. This includes e-commerce, which is gaining momentum throughout the region, it adds.

AIG, which has nine active companies in more than 25 countries across Africa, has evaluated the top seven countries for technology and e-commerce growth in the region, with the help of independent studies, field surveys and research.

It has also made use of McKinsey's iGDP measure, which looks at the percentage that e-commerce contributes to country's economies. AIG has listed the top African countries where iGDP is significant:

Senegal:
This country leads the pack in Africa with an iGDP of 3.3%. Initiatives like the Jjiguene Tech Hub - Jjiguene means "woman" in Wolof - are designed by women for women in Senegal, it aims to help women enter the world of IT driven businesses. The potential for this initiative has been recognised by a number of investors including IT giant Microsoft.

Kenya:

Close on the heels of Senegal is Kenya, with an iGDP of 2.9%. Kenya has launched a $14.5 billion project to build a city to shape African tech businesses - something similar to the Silicon Valley - called the African Silicon Savannah. This city is designed to become a hub for outsourcing of business process outsourcing operations and general IT support, as well as helping to foster growing businesses.

Morocco:
This North African country is growing fast and is well-positioned to become Africa's financial centre. It has projects like Casablanca Finance City and Casablanca Technopark and an iGDP of 2.3%. There are over 100 companies in the Technopark already.

Mozambique:
Mozambique is on the international radar as one of the top three African countries with rapid growth. Recent collaborations with China have further enhanced its agricultural industry and, in addition to this, real estate and hospitality opportunities are abundant. It is among the top five economies in Africa which have made significant progress in the IT sector. Mozambique now has an iGDP of 1.6% and this looks set to increase as IT underpins many other areas of growth in the country.

Nigeria:
The pride of Africa, being its largest economy, has an iGDP of 1.5% and is also the e-commerce hub of Africa with businesses like Jumia and Kaymu being popular among the fashion conscious urbanites who do not shy away from making purchases online. IT is thriving in Nigeria and, apart from multiple technology hubs, there are several accelerators in Nigeria to help start ups and to facilitate IT based businesses.

South Africa:

Following Nigeria closely with an iGDP of 1.4%, it is among the most economically developed nations in Africa and it is one of the most receptive. South Africa has IT hubs all along the Western Cape province - among which is Silicon Cape. Yet, growth needs to be accelerated as other African countries are steaming ahead with investment into the IT sector.

Ghana
:
Though last on the list, with an iGDP of 1.1%, it is definitely not the least. Only recently, the president of Ghana promised to build an IT city near Accra - the capital - with a total investment of about $5.2 billion. Plans involve building a tower which aims to be the tallest in Africa.

Apart from the top seven, Egypt, Tanzania and Cameroon are additional countries in which businesses are thriving and growing. Africa is the second fastest growing region in the world and it is attracting investors across multiple sectors.

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