E-commerce in Sub-Saharan Africa: overcoming barriers to succeed in an online environment

Sara Holmberg

Student thesis: Master thesis


In Sub-Saharan Africa, small businesses are not sufficiently supported in developing e-commerce practices. The institutional landscape creates barriers for firms to learn, understand, use and take advantage of the online environment, and most Africans are still not connected to the internet. Some firms have however overcome these barriers and built up necessary skills to conquer the e-commerce world. This paper is about those firms. By preforming a case study on small and medium-sized e-commerce firms in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda this paper enables for answer to how firms use internal capabilities and resources to overcome e-commerce barriers. Hence, this paper is useful for any policy maker or researcher that wants to gain an improved understanding of both e-commerce barriers and e-commerce firms’ capabilities. Identification of the main e-commerce barriers and its underlying dynamics are relevant for policy makers that want to adopt new measures and to improve the internet landscape in their location. This is one of few studies that takes a Sub-Saharan African perspective on e-commerce and particular defines the relevant barriers for SMEs in that part of the world.

EducationsMSc in Business, Language and Culture, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages103