Lack of consumer awareness, experience and trust are among major challenges holding back electronic businesses in Rwanda according to a recent diagnostic study conducted in 2020 by Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM), MINICT and ICT Chamber.
The study showed that there is a low traffic on online businesses’ websites where most businesses’ visitors are below 10 000 per month to their online platforms or websites with only 5 businesses receiving over 20 000.
“These numbers may be a good indicator of the low demand of online goods and services. Subsequently, the lack of consumer awareness, experience and trust explain low demand levels for online products and services” Jean Premier Bienvenu Rukundo, E-commerce Specialist at Ministry of Trade and Industry, tells Kigali Up
Adding that, “Access to funds, high customs and domestic taxes, logistics, connectivity” also identified as challenges.
Public weigh in
Liliane Tuyizere, 21, an employee
I have been in business for 3 years; i work from a shop in Rubavu. I heard little about online business from my workmates; however, i rarely check things from internet. I see people’ statuses on WhatsApp, we do the same while advertising our products. Personally, i don’t mind much about online business despite having little knowledge on it.
Agnes Uwimana, 33, businesswoman
I own a shop for a year, i don’t know much about electronic businesses but i once heard something on a TV show about E-Commerce when i was passing by. Like any other business person, i have been getting goods from Kigali City by ordering using my mobile phone amidst lockdowns- when movements between districts and Kigali City banned to contain the spread of the virus. I, however, do not completely trust this business model since i received some goods of not the same quality from what i was told on phone. I started using this model for the first time in the course of lockdown, when travelling was prohibited. There are whatsApp groups whereby new products are posted even on personal status. Sometimes you make an order from expectations of people’s status, when delivered come to find they are not real, not the same quality appears on the pictures. I once received a bunch of jeans but some were torn and feck.
Elijah Manzi, 37, a business person and tax adviser in Kigali
I have never bought anything from online business because i don’t really trust such business. There are fraud people out here whose business is untrustworthy. I was stolen by a person whose online market was about ‘Selling food stuffs’ in Kigali, originally from Malaysia. He took from me more than a million francs (Rfw1, 115,000). I would fight anyone tells me about such business, i don’t like listening to anyone talking about such kind of business. Whatever you can ship either from heaven or elsewhere, i cannot trust it unless there is a physical contact, and my hope was gone. Why should i buy things i don’t see? My bother during lockdown made an order of a ‘Hyundai Santa Fe’ from Europe costing $ 5 000 with the payment of chipping then he found it was too old. They are robbers, i will be happy if such online companies are closed.
Alice Mukamana, 35, a resident in Ngororero
I knew much about online business since COVI-19 lockdown, and i think more people in Rwanda knew it at large by then. I have never thought of buying anything on internet. We always order things from Goma by retailers. We once wanted to start up a shipping business of bed sheets and baby clothes from China, it did not work since Rwanda banned second hand clothes which we wanted so make our business. I chose to do something else because there is no market.