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Mauritius leads Africa in global online shopping rankings, Netherlands first

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The Netherlands has placed top of UNCTAD’s Business-to-Consumer (B2C) E-commerce Index for 2018 as the most prepared country in the world for global online shopping. Mauritius leads Africa, ranked 55th.

The new index, released today in Nairobi, Kenya shows that eight of the top ten countries for online shopping are in Europe, with index values extremely close and a range of just four points between first and tenth rank.

The highest-scoring African country on the new B2C E-commerce Index is Mauritius, with a global ranking of 55.

The Netherlands, which ranked third in 2017, ousted Luxembourg, which dropped out of the top ten as a result of a sharp fall in its postal reliability score.

“The Netherlands has high values for most indicators, particularly in secure servers – a proxy for e-commerce shops – where it is top-ranked among all 151 countries included in the index,” Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD’s division on technology and logistics, said.

“The country also has the second highest proportion of online shoppers in the world – 76% of the population aged 15 and older.”

Singapore and Switzerland are in second and third place. Singapore has surged 16 positions since 2017, with increased values across all indicators. It now ranks among the top countries in accounts, secure-server penetration and postal reliability. Switzerland also rates favourably on all indicators.

The United Kingdom climbed to fourth position, boasting the highest B2C spending per shopper in Europe and the world’s highest proportion of B2C revenues to GDP. Norway and Sweden, fifth and eighth respectively, have among the world’s highest values for all indicators, except secure-server penetration.

Iceland, ranked sixth, has near ubiquitous Internet access with 98% of the population online, the highest in the world (with Bahrain and Norway). Its score is brought down by a relatively low level of postal reliability, possibly a reflection of challenging terrain and weather conditions in the nation. One alternative is drone delivery, which has already been launched by Iceland’s biggest B2C e-commerce company.

New Zealand ranked ninth and Denmark completes the top ten.

Asian nations lead among top 10 developing countries

All but one of the top ten developing countries in the B2C E-commerce Index 2018 are from East Asia or the Middle East, and all are upper-middle-income or high-income economies.

Unlike the global top ten, the range of index values between developing countries is wide with a 26-point difference between first and tenth. Compared to the 2017 index, Singapore has swapped ranks with the Republic of Korea as the top-ranked country in the list.

Mauritius and Trinidad and Tobago have dropped out while Chile (the only non-Asian country on the list) and Turkey have entered. Hong Kong (China) ranks second among developing economies and 15th in the world. Like Singapore, it is a small economy with relatively high values on all indicators.

The United Arab Emirates, ranked fourth, does well in Internet usage and accounts, with room to improve for secure servers and postal reliability to emerge as a top-ranked nation in B2C e-commerce readiness.

Malaysia, ranked fifth, is balanced across all dimensions of the index. Just over a third of the population made an online purchase in 2017 and the country has one of the highest proportions of B2C sales to GDP in the world. Sixth-ranked Thailand does well in postal reliability and Internet penetration has reached over half of the population aged six and above.

Turkey is a new entrant into the top ten developing countries. Now ranked seventh, it had one of the most significant increases in Internet access in the world in 2017, up six percentage points. The growth in Internet users drove a four-percentage-point rise in online shopping to 21% of the population.

The Islamic Republic of Iran ranks eighth among developing countries. The country’s main strength is a high level of account ownership. Despite recurring sanctions, the nation has the second largest online shopping market among the top ten developing economies.

Chile does well on all indicators although postal reliability drags its score down. The country boasts the highest sales value per online shopper in Latin America and some 15% of enterprises in the country already sell online.

The 2018 B2C E-commerce Index was launched today at the first Africa eCommerce Week in Nairobi, Kenya. The event runs from 10-14 December.

Co-organized by UNCTAD, the African Union and the European Union, Africa eCommerce Week is hosted by the Government of Kenya and held in collaboration with partners of the eTrade for all initiative.

Under the theme Empowering African Economies in the Digital Era, Africa eCommerce Week will examine ways to enhance the ability of African countries to engage in and benefit from e-commerce and the evolving digital economy.

(NAN)

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South Africa: New Export Tax on Chrome Ore Intended to Resurrect the Ferrochrome Industry, but challenges prevail

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Image Source: Expatica

The  South African government recently approved a tax on South Africa’s exported chrome, although the tax percentage and further details are still to be announced.

The ferrochrome ore industry has been severely threatened in recent years, mostly due to increases in electricity tariffs for heavy use industries, which, combined with the unreliable supply of electricity in South Africa, have crippled the industry to such an extent that reportedly 40% of the coThe  South African government recently approved a tax on South Africa’s exported chrome, although the tax percentage and further details are still to be announced.untry’s ferrochrome mines have been unable to continue production.

Some industry stakeholders have suggested that a special electricity tariff would be a better way to support the ailing industry, stating that the export tax will not provide much benefit if electricity supply and costs to the industry are not addressed. Some in the industry feel that the challenges chrome ore producers face mean that they would not be able to sustain themselves, even after tax relief. This would not only negatively affect exports, but the downstream industry as well.

South Africa is one of the world’s largest producers of ferrochrome and the industry could have a vital role to play in the country’s pandemic recovery, if its challenges can be successfully addressed. Currently, the country exports 84% of ferrochrome to China, with Turkey and Zimbabwe, for example, producing smaller amounts. There has been concern that an export tax would mean other countries would be able to offer ferrochrome at cheaper prices than South Africa, with the country losing significant market share in the process. While China sources most of its chrome ore from South Africa, this could change if the product was available cheaper from other countries. However, it has also been noted that it would be difficult to China to move away from the type of ferrochrome it imports from South Africa.

Others in the industry, however, welcome the reprieve that an export tax would provide. India and Tanzania are examples of countries that have implemented successful export taxes for chrome ore, which have resulted in increased tax bases, higher investment in the industry, benefits to the local communities and skills development.

Key industry stakeholders have expressed interest in collectively undertaking research to explore a more viable and consolidated approach to support the ferrochrome industry. This process may involve the sharing of competitively sensitive information, which presents difficulties from a competition law perspective, and engagement on these issues has not been forthcoming.

According to South African competition law, joint industry engagement of this nature may give rise to anti-competitive conduct by facilitating collusion or adversely affecting competition in the market. Accordingly, in December 2020, key industry players applied to the Competition Commission for an exemption from certain provisions of the Competition Act. If successful, the exemption would permit stakeholders to jointly explore needed solutions in the industry for a period of two years.

While there is currently no further information on whether government will eventually impose export limitations and restrictions, the South African Revenue Service is expected to become aggressive in monitoring compliance and the collection of these export taxes when they do take effect. South African chrome ore producers who intend on exporting chrome should begin preparing, so that they can be tax compliant and in possession of the relevant customs licenses if new export taxes eventually become effective

Written By: Prenisha Govender, Associate, Tax, and Angelo Tzarevski, Senior Associate, Competition & Antitrust, Baker McKenzie Johannesburg

 

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Hospitality & Tourism

Radisson Individuals makes its African debut with hotel signing in Ghana, to open its doors in October 2021

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Image Source: Radisson Hotel Group

Radisson Hotel Group is proud to announce its first Radisson Individuals property in Africa, with the signing of Earl Heights Suites Hotel, a member of Radisson Individuals, Accra, Ghana. Due to open by the end of 2021, this new addition places the Group firmly on track to achieving its objective of reaching 150 hotels in operation and under development by 2025.

Located in Dzorwulu, the property is currently undergoing a full renovation and is on schedule to open within this year. Just 5km from Kotoka International Airport (KIA), the main access point by air for domestic and international visitors, the serviced apartment property is conveniently located near shopping malls, restaurants, as well as the University of Ghana, situated north of the district. Also within reach, is the tranquil Legon Botanical Gardens, with its canopy walk, rope courses, canoeing and rich birdlife.

Due to its strategic geographical location, ease of access, and aviation facilities and connections, Accra has become a conference and aviation hub for West Africa. It is also dominated by local and international business activities, making the city one of the most attractive African cities to do business.

The 58-serviced apartments property will comprise of modern studios as well as spacious and elegant one- and two-bedroom suites. Creating a true destination for its guests, the property will offer culinary options in the restaurant, The Society, which will include outdoor seating as well as in the hotel bar. The property will also feature a spa, gym, pool, convenience store, and business centre, providing the perfect base for both business and leisure.

Radisson Individuals is a conversion brand that offers independent hotels and local, regional chains the opportunity to be part of the global Radisson Hotel Group platform, benefit from the Group’s international awareness and experience, with the freedom to maintain their own uniqueness and identity.  Radisson Hotel Group plans to more than double its serviced apartments portfolio within the next 5 years across EMEA. Today, serviced apartments represent around 10% of the Group’s EMEA portfolio with 45 properties and more than 5,400 units in operation and under development.

Erwan Garnier, Senior Director, Development, Africa, Radisson Hotel Group, said: “We have identified Ghana as a key focus country in our five-year development plan and, Accra as a focus and primary city. The signing of the property, which compliments the Radisson Hotel & Apartments Accra announced last year and scheduled to open in 2023, is also aligned with our current conversion-focused growth strategy, which will remain a priority, especially post-pandemic. We are therefore proud the Radisson Individuals African debut, will be on Ghanaian soil, carving the path for the new brand to continue its expansion across the continent. In proud partnership with Earlbeam Group of Companies, we are thrilled to be contributing to the country’s tourism industry, a key pillar of the national economy.”

Alfred Danso Darkwah, CEO of the hotel’s owning company, Earlbeam Group of Companies, said: “The Earl Heights Suites Hotel partnership is an exciting opportunity – it brings together the union of Radisson Hotel Group and The Earlbeam Group Of Companies, two well-seasoned brands from the hospitality and real estate sector respectively. This will be the first branded apart hotel in Ghana, completely unique, providing each guest a boutique home-away-from home experience. In addition, it delivers partner confidence, guarantee of service standards, and assured safety and security, leaving a positive mark on Ghana’s hospitality sector. We believe this Radisson Individuals hotel will inject much-needed life within the local hospitality industry and pave the way for upcoming projects between Radisson Hotel Group and The Earlbeam Group of Companies.”

Image Source: Radisson Hotel Group

Herewith the link to the renders of the hotel, which is on track to open its doors in October this year Radisson Individuals

Radisson Hotel Group operates to high standards of performance and advocates socially and environmentally sustainable business practices. More than ever, Radisson Hotel Group’s highest priorities remain the health and safety of its guests and employees. The Group partnered with SGS, the world’s leading inspection and certification company, to implement the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol, which ensures the highest hygiene standards and strengthens the Group’s existing rigorous sanitation guidelines. In the run-up to the opening of Earl Heights Suites Hotel, a member of Radisson Individuals the hotel will implement the Radisson Hotel Group brand standards including the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol related to safety and security.

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Entertainment

TuneCore Launches Operations in Africa, Appoints Two Female Regional Executives

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TuneCore Jade Leaf and Chioma Onuchukwu

TuneCore, the leading digital music distribution and publishing administration company for independent artists, has launched operations in Africa. Jade Leaf has been hired as Head of TuneCore for Southern Africa and will share responsibility for key countries in East Africa with Chioma Onuchukwu, who has been hired as Head of TuneCore for West Africa. Both Leaf and Onuchukwu will report to Faryal Khan-Thompson, Vice President, International, TuneCore.

Onuchukwu will be based in Nigeria and oversee countries in West Africa including Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and The Gambia. She will also look after Tanzania and Ethiopia in East Africa.  Leaf’s territory encompasses Southern Africa, including South Africa, where she will be based, as well as Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Lesotho. Leaf will also manage TuneCore operations in East African countries Kenya and Uganda.

Said Onuchukwu, “I am elated to be joining a renowned, independent music distribution powerhouse, especially in an incredible era for music creators in Africa at a time when we are gaining global recognition and increasing momentum. I look forward to collaborating with and supporting local artists.”

Before joining TuneCore, Onuchukwu was Marketing Manager at uduX Music, a music streaming platform in Nigeria. There she worked directly with popular African artists such as Davido, Yemi Alade, Patoranking, Kizz Daniel and more.

Commented Leaf, “I am incredibly excited to join the team in a time where the global conversation is around independence and ownership. TuneCore opens up a world of potential for independent artists at every level of their careers. Africa is home to a diverse range of artists who are seeking a reliable distribution service who understands their local needs and can ultimately give them the opportunity to turn their art into commercial success.”

Previously, Leaf worked at Africa’s largest Pay TV operator, Multichoice as the Marketing Manager for Youth & Music Channels, where she led brand re-imaging and marketing efforts for Music TV giant Channel O. Before that, she worked at Sony Music Entertainment Africa, focusing on African artists and content, as well as numerous marketing campaigns & projects for local and international artists.

There has been a meteoric rise in the uptake of streaming services in Africa, the growth has been attributed to several factors such as an increase in internet penetration via smartphones, the entrance of international and local streaming platforms in key territories and its youth population – More than 60% of African’s are under the age of 25.

In 2020, TuneCore saw an increase in music releases globally, with many African artists opting to use the DIY Distributor – DJ Spinall and Small Doctor in Nigeria, Spoegwolf in South Africa, Mpho Sebina in Botswana and Fena Gitu in Kenya to name a few.

Stated Khan-Thompson, “Africa is an extremely exciting music market with a lot of potential for growth. By hiring Jade and Chioma to lead our efforts, TuneCore is well positioned to maximize opportunities for independent artists across the continent. Both Chioma and Jade bring a wealth of experience and genuine interest in helping artists make their dreams come true. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have two incredible women representing the TuneCore brand in the continent”

TuneCore

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