Uganda flag Uganda: Buying and Selling

E-commerce in Uganda

E-commerce

Internet access
According to a report published by the Uganda Communications Commission, in the second quarter of 2017 internet penetration in Uganda jumped to 45.4% (from 43.8%), reaching an estimated 17.1 million. The report also shows that in the same period mobile internet subscriptions registered a 14.5% growth, with 1.6 million new subscribers, whereas fixed internet subscription grew by 3.2% (+4,850 subscribers). For the year 2018, Forbes magazine ranked Uganda in the seventh spot of countries with the highest internet penetration in Africa.
However, the quality of internet is much lower in rural areas compared to urban areas (and it has to be kept into consideration that, according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) 2017 Statistical Abstract, over 75% of Uganda’s population lives in rural areas).
The most popular web search engines in Uganda are Google (95.3%), Bing and Yahoo (2.5% and 1.6% respectively).
E-commerce market
E-commerce is rapidly growing in Uganda, and it is expected to shortly become the second largest online market in the East Africa region, after Kenya. This is mainly due to the rapid growth in telecommunications users and the widespread use of mobile money payments: in fact, Ugandan commercial banks implemented the Mobile Money service, which allows mobile phone users to electronically transfer funds to retailers or individuals. Moreover, many banks are now offering VISA debit cards which allow for online payments, and some are even offering credit cards.

Uganda’s e-commerce market offers a wide range of goods and services, including the possibility to pay taxes online. However, due to the absence of specific e-commerce regulations, informal and even illicit transactions continue to be carried out online. The main e-commerce platforms in the country include Jumia, Dondolo, GoodsExpress, Intraline, Paple Rayn, OLX and Eye Trade.

According to a report by Contador Harrison, Ugandans in the age group 30-40 are the biggest online spenders. Most of Uganda’s domestic B2C e-commerce sector is run on mobile devices and on social media platforms, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat and WeChat. In May 2018 Uganda’s parliament passed a law which imposes a tax of 200 shillings a day (around USD 5 cents) on users of social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Skype. Although officially the law is aimed at raising public revenues, it has been criticized as a way to limit free expression.

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Latest Update: November 2022

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