Unlicensed E-commerce Sites Prompt Timid Digital World

Mar 11 , 2023


Only one website is legally registered with an e-commerce license in the country leaving out the current online markets unrecognized by the Ministry of Trade & Regional Integration. According to Jirata Nemera, head of licensing and regulatory at the Ministry, CropConex which offers a coffee transaction digital platform is the only online service provider officially registered under e-commerce service. CropConex was licensed as the first e-Commerce platform operator on November 2022. There are over 20 e-commerce websites in Ethiopia that are commonly referred to as e-commerce. Despite the Digital Ethiopia 2025 plan of the current administration, it seems the primitive electronic commerce sector has not even managed to gain proper licensing, as most of the sites offering the services operate under a commission license and delivery service license. This same principle is used by taxi-hailing electronic platforms who have to get a transport and a business license separately. The rapidly increasing internet usage nationally will require a legislative framework for businesses that develop around it according to several experts. Jirata said the essence of buying and selling goods or services and executing money and data transfer using the internet has been lost as trust is not built between end-users and service providers. The currently burgeoning expanded VAT proclamation will see to a tax on all digital service providers, which will be difficult to achieve if a proper classification of the businesses does not transpire. According to a report by the International Trade Administration, digital commerce is in its infancy in Ethiopia compared to its large population size. Other African countries strived and are far ahead in helping e-commerce, and online transactions flourish. Kenya legislated its Electronic Transactions Bill in 2007, and the Information & Communication Bill the following year.


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