NAIROBI, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- The UN specialized agency for the postal sector plans to help African countries leverage on e-commerce in order to boost the continent's incomes, officials said on Friday.
Bishar Hussein, director general of Universal Postal Union (UPU), told Xinhua in Nairobi that it has developed an e-commerce platform under the Ecom@Africa initiative where products made in Africa will be visible to the rest of the world.
"Our overall objective is to ensure that small scale entrepreneurs and especially those in rural and under served communities can sell their products on a digital market and improve their incomes," Hussein said.
He said that so far Ethiopia, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, South Africa and Tunisia have already signed on to the initiative.
UPU hopes that all African states will join the continental e-commerce platform.
He added that national postal agencies which have the largest distribution network in most countries will help deliver products to consumers at an affordable cost.
The director general said that most online market places tend to stock products that are not made in Africa, and are dominated by large firms.
He revealed that UPU is committed to ensuring that Africa truly benefits from the global shift towards e-commerce.
The UN agency said that the e-commerce platform will also promote intra-Africa trade which is currently below its potential.
Hussein noted that national postal agencies together with national governments will be the key stakeholders in the e-commerce initiative.