For the first time in 194 years, the Department of Economics and Commerce, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, Introduces E-commerce as a topic. The topic is being introduced by one of Fourah Bay College’s most brilliant Economists, Mr Mohamed Ibrahim Justice Ganwah
Mohamed Ibrahim Justice Ganawah is a PhD candidate, Economist, Entrepreneur, Researcher, expert in Financial Economics and Management, and Lecturer at the Department of Economics and Commerce, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. He’s known to be the John Maynard Keynes of our time. Author of five books, Mohamed Ibrahim Justice Ganawah is undoubtedly a living Economics genius living in our midst and without any iota of doubt one of Africa’s greatest human assets. Mohamed Ibrahim Justice Ganwah is an inspiration to so many students at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. He has deservingly propelled the Sierra Leonean flag to infinity.
WHAT’S THE IMPORTANCE OF E-commerce AND WHY STUDYING IT?
Online shopping has become so popular these days due to many reasons. It’s convenient, simple, easy, coupled with the fact that it allows consumers to compare prices and find the best deals are some of the reasons why it is the latest craze among people. It is estimated that over 2.14 billion people will buy goods and services online within the next year. This implies that online shopping is here to stay and can only grow bigger. It also means that the growth of online businesses such as e-stores, online shopping stores, online shopping malls, and internet shops is unstoppable. With the Success of E-commerce businesses like Alibaba and Amazon, hundreds of E-commerce businesses are emerging in Africa especially South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria.
African online retail businesses have been growing fast in recent years. A trend that is predicted to continue in the coming years. There are over 280 million online shoppers in Africa (meaning the number of people that uses online retail stores to shop), contributing to the continent’s growing economy. According to statistics, The average B2C e-commerce spending per online shopper in Africa is €58.
As the number of internet users in Africa continues to grow, online retail is booming rapidly. The leading E-commerce businesses in Africa has millions of monthly users e.g. Jumia, Konga, takealot, and Kilimall. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country is known to be the headquarters for the most popular online marketplace in Africa, Jumia, whilst South Africa is home to takealot.com, the largest e-commerce platform in the country. Jumia monthly website visitors is over 500 million, the highest in Africa. This propelling growth has seen young Africans entering into online marketing, which has created jobs for hundreds of thousands of African graduates.
But where is Sierra Leone when others are propelling?
Sierra Leone has a population of 7+ million people, one of the lowest in Africa. As of January 2021, there were 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide. For Sierra Leone, according to datareportal, there were 1.99 million internet users in Sierra Leone in January 2020. The number of internet users in Sierra Leone increased by 149 thousand (+8.1%) between 2019 and 2020. Internet penetration in Sierra Leone stood at 25% in January 2020. The report also says there were 700.0 thousand social media users in Sierra Leone in January 2020. The number of social media users in Sierra Leone increased by 92 thousand (+15%) between April 2019 and January 2020. Social media penetration in Sierra Leone stood at 8.9% in January 2020. By these statistics, even though the number of internet users is relatively small, an increase in numbers is happening.
The number of online retail businesses in Sierra Leone is small compared to Nigeria, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, and Algeria. Why? Is it because of the small number of internet users or lack of awareness?
Well, the number of internet users can be high, but internet illiteracy is one of the major problems the internet is faced with. For Sierra Leone, the number of internet users is not a problem, the problem is the number of illiterate internet users. Sierra Leone’s internet users are not conversant with E-commerce. Many internet users spend more time on Facebook, WhatsApp and TikTok. Internet illiteracy is a major problem deterring the growing E-commerce industry in Sierra Leone.
Mohamed Ibrahim Justice Ganwah thought it fit and vital that the students need to learn about E-commerce and how it works and its significance in the economy of Sierra Leone. For these students to know about E-commerce means that Mohamed Ibrahim Justice Ganwah is building a generation of young Sierra Leonean intellects to parachute E-commerce in Sierra Leone. Imagine having 500 students graduating every year from the Department of Economics and Commerce, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone; that’s huge, right? Well, that’s what Mohamed Ibrahim Justice Ganwah is doing – introducing E-commerce in 194 years.