Africa Marketplace Explorer


The Africa Marketplace Explorer addresses the lack of comprehensive information about online marketplaces in more than 50 African countries. 

This free dashboard explores:

  • trends in digital marketplace usage from 2019 to 2022 

  • relative adoption of marketplaces 

  • country-by-country benchmarking 

The tool covers visitor traffic and the main characteristics of more than 630 African marketplaces. 

This comprehensive set of data, developed by the ITC ecomConnect team together with the Centre for Market Insights of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, contributes important insights on how to develop e-commerce in Africa. 

The accompanying report, Business and policy insights: Mapping e-Marketplaces in Africa, builds on this data to explain how policymakers and small businesses can use it. 

The dashboard is also available for Latin America and the Caribbean


Africa’s 631 online marketplaces recorded 2.17 billion visits in 2019.
That’s just 8% of the traffic on Amazon.
Graphic of woman carrying delivery boxes
10 countries – including South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria and Algeria – are responsible for 94% of all online business in Africa.
Consumer traffic on online marketplaces in Africa slipped by 5% from 2017 to 2019. 


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ITC’s online dashboard allows analysis of more than 630 retail marketplaces across 50 African countries.

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ITC ecomConnect
Global: Digital connectivity and trade (Switch ON)
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Digital connectivity matters in development

Core impact areas

Our cross-cutting delivery model combines the expertise of teams across ITC to address three layers.

  1. Ecosystem layer: looks at how business support organizations can digitalize their clients and advocate for more affordable connectivity.
  2. Strategy and policy layer: disseminates evidence-based innovations in policy and thought leadership.
  3. Enterprise layer: raises the profile of MSMEs to attract investment to new models in connectivity, enabling them to trade digitally.

Partnerships with local and international companies are expected to play a key role, and will require the contribution of partners beyond those traditionally engaged in "Aid for Trade".

These partners may have a far more specific and technical role in delivering connectivity and infrastructure and services. ITC will ensure that MSMEs receive appropriate attention and support to meet their potential. We welcome discussions on how we can best work together toward this outcome.

Ambitions of the Digital Moonshot

  • Enable institutions to implement policy and initiatives so MSMEs can access and use the internet;
  • Affordable and reliable connectivity, in towns of all sizes;
  • Easy, affordable access to online payments;
  • Vibrant e-commerce services, including local marketplaces and other service providers;
  • Digital entrepreneurialism, built on the development and uptake of local solutions.

Zambia: First Digital Moonshot country

In the initial phase, in 2022, ITC proposes to evaluate the potential for connectivity to digital trade in Zambia.

The initial phase will define how to support the Government of Zambia’s ambitions, while also looking at how to work with private businesses to develop the case for investment in digital connectivity.

Zambia would have a particular role to play as a pilot country. We would aim to define a programme that results in further projects in Zambia itself, in other African countries, and beyond.

ecomconnect [at] intracen.org (Contact us) to get involved.


ITC in the media

Africa Briefing
19 Sep 2023

<p style="text-align: justify;"><s>Switch ON&nbsp;</s><span style="color: rgb(41, 105, 176);">ITC&apos;s &quot;Digital Moonshot&quot;</span><span style="color: rgb(41, 105, 176);">&nbsp;</span>initiative aims to get more MSMEs online and engaged in digital trade and entrepreneurialism. An initiative of the International Trade Centre (ITC), it is structured into an integrated framework for action across the dimensions of policy, institutional and enterprise capabilities, and partnerships.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Increasing access and capability to use digital channels and tools could be one of the most powerful mechanisms to respond to the looming economic downturn, and to boost<span style="color: rgb(41, 105, 176);">&nbsp;the</span> resilience of small enterprises. &nbsp;Greater participation of MSMEs in digital trade brings important economic benefits, drives the demand for digital capacity and in turn improves the business case for further investments in infrastructure.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The <s>Switch ON&nbsp;</s><span style="color: rgb(41, 105, 176);">&quot;Digital Moonshot&quot;&nbsp;</span>initiative is integral to ITC&apos;s 2022-2025 Strategic Plan, which prioritizes digital connectivity as a key enabler to an inclusive, sustainable, and prosperous world.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Through<span style="color: rgb(41, 105, 176);">&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><s>Switch ON</s></span><span style="color: rgb(41, 105, 176);"><s>&nbsp;</s>this initiative</span>, ITC focuses its efforts on ensuring that investments in connectivity are prioritized and that the conditions are in place for MSMEs in the developing world to profit from digital trade.</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: rgb(41, 105, 176);"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-GB"><span data-ccp-parastyle="Normal (Web)">The Digital Moonshot team is committed to fostering the digital transformation of developing and transition countries by enhancing their digital polic</span><span data-ccp-parastyle="Normal (Web)">ies</span><span data-ccp-parastyle="Normal (Web)">&nbsp;and strateg</span><span data-ccp-parastyle="Normal (Web)">ies</span><span data-ccp-parastyle="Normal (Web)">,&nbsp;</span><span data-ccp-parastyle="Normal (Web)">reinforc</span><span data-ccp-parastyle="Normal (Web)">ing</span><span data-ccp-parastyle="Normal (Web)">&nbsp;digital ecosystems,&nbsp;</span><span data-ccp-parastyle="Normal (Web)">and</span><span data-ccp-parastyle="Normal (Web)">&nbsp;the competitiveness of&nbsp;</span><span data-ccp-parastyle="Normal (Web)">MSMEs</span><span data-ccp-parastyle="Normal (Web)">&nbsp;</span><span data-ccp-parastyle="Normal (Web)">to</span><span data-ccp-parastyle="Normal (Web)">&nbsp;</span><span data-ccp-parastyle="Normal (Web)">participate</span><span data-ccp-parastyle="Normal (Web)">&nbsp;in&nbsp;</span><span data-ccp-parastyle="Normal (Web)">online trade</span><span data-ccp-parastyle="Normal (Web)">.</span></span><span data-ccp-props='{"134233117":true,"134233118":true,"201341983":0,"335559740":240}'>&nbsp;</span></span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong><span style="color: rgb(41, 105, 176);">2024:</span></strong></p><p>The priority for <s>Switch ON</s>&nbsp;<span style="color: rgb(41, 105, 176);">the &quot;Digital Moonshot&quot; in 2024</span> is to build partnerships with other <span style="color: rgb(41, 105, 176);">UN organisations&nbsp;</span>and private sector groups working in multiple countries, in order to continue and extend support through their related operations and networks. <span style="color: rgb(41, 105, 176);">The programme will continue to raise awareness and ITC&apos;s profile as a leader in Digital Trade through UN partnerships, such as the Broadband Commission Working Group, EQUALS initiative, and global events including the Summit of the Future and WTO Public Forun.</span>&nbsp;<s>The programme will have increased visibility, in particular following the Broadband Commission Working Group, and will relationships with partners such as S<span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-GB"><span data-ccp-parastyle="Normal (Web)">martAfrica,</span></span> Microsoft, Google, and<span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-GB"><span data-ccp-parastyle="Normal (Web)">&nbsp;local (tech) hubs</span></span><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-GB"><span data-ccp-parastyle="Normal (Web)">&nbsp;</span></span>to offer complementary solutions and reach a larger public of small enterprises.</s></p><p><s>The programme will continue leveraging relationships with partners such as Microsoft, Google, Visa, DHL, Alibaba, Strathmore University in Kenya, Absa Bank in Zambia, and local (tech) hubs to offer complementary solutions and reach a larger public of small enterprises.</s></p><p>These partnerships will be leveraged through other <s>(W2 funded) &nbsp;</s><span style="color: rgb(41, 105, 176);">XB&nbsp;</span>projects and address various objectives:</p><ul><li><s>Policy and strategy support for the digital connectivity sector: training policymakers as well as advice and inputs on digital focused policies and strategies</s></li><li><s>Support MSMEs in taking full advantage of existing digital connectivity networks and connect the unconnected through setting up rural hub(s)</s></li><li><s>Support MSMEs with digital skills, invest<span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-GB">ment readiness and international exposure</span></s></li><li><s>Activities will foster business-friendly tech ecosystems, e.g. strengthen business support organizations such as tech hubs</s></li><li><s>Leverage partnerships to connect more MSMEs to the internet</s></li></ul><ul type="disc"><li><span style="color: rgb(41, 105, 176);">Provide policy and strategy support for the digital connectivity sector by training policymakers as well as proving advice on digital focused policies and strategies and supporting African countries to advance legal and regulatory reforms, particularly concerning the AfCFTA and JSI negotiations.</span></li><li><span style="color: rgb(41, 105, 176);">Empower business support organisation to build their capacity in digital and support the migration to digital trade.</span></li><li><span style="color: rgb(41, 105, 176);">Support MSMEs in taking full advantage of existing digital connectivity networks and connect the unconnected through setting up rural hub(s).</span></li><li><span style="color: rgb(41, 105, 176);">Support MSMEs with digital skills, investment readiness and international exposure.</span></li><li><span style="color: rgb(41, 105, 176);">Foster business-friendly tech ecosystems and provide support for a greater participation in digital trade.</span></li><li><span style="color: rgb(41, 105, 176);">Leverage partnerships to connect more MSMEs to the internet and markets.</span></li><li><span style="color: rgb(41, 105, 176);">Incorporate AI in our methodology and increase its adoption by MSMEs.</span></li></ul>

ecomConnect Programme: Empowering businesses through e-commerce
Fast Tracking Digital Entrepreneurship in Africa - Phase 1
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