The boom in the African online shopping marketplace has been fuelled by a sharp rise in the number of African visitors.
The number of online shoppers in the continent, which is home to over a quarter of the world’s population, has increased by more than 25 per cent in the past year.
While the number has remained stable at around 10 million since 2012, online shopping sites like Ebay and Amazon have seen an increase in visitors from Africa.
Ebay alone attracted over 6 million visitors in the first half of 2017.
“The internet is the new Africa, we are really opening up the world for Africans to be able to shop online,” said Yves Sontou, the director of the African Institute for Research and Education at the University of Cape Town.
“Now we can access a lot of things from other African countries.”
Sontouk told Al Jazeera the African shopping market is not only booming but also the fastest-growing in the world.
“We are going through a major transformation.
There are more than 60 million Africans in the market and it is now the largest in the Western world,” he said.
“What’s exciting about this market is that it is not limited to one region, but it’s also very diverse, it’s very global, and it’s now going to be a global trend.”
The growth in the online shopping market was driven by the rise of the internet and e-commerce in Africa, said Sontoul.
“There are so many opportunities in this market,” he told AlJazeera.
That is really the key for us.” “
And people can now shop around and go online and buy what they want.
That is really the key for us.”
Ebay has emerged as the largest e-retailer in Africa with revenues of more than $2.8 billion, while Amazon is the largest online shopping site in the region, with revenues in excess of $5.2 billion.
The rise in African shoppers comes at a time when African leaders have been concerned about the growing threat of online shopping crime, particularly from the African diaspora.
In January 2018, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma announced a $5 million fund to combat online crime.
Earlier this year, Zambia also started an investigation into the issue after a wave of online fraud in the country prompted the country to ban online sales from February 1.
The latest statistics show that almost 3.5 million people have visited African sites on Ebay since March, and about 740,000 people have used it.
According to the South African Customs Service, about 1.6 million people used Ebay in 2017, compared to about 2.7 million in 2016.
In the first quarter of 2018, 1.1 million people visited the African site.
The African market has attracted international attention recently.
In October 2017, the UK-based retailer Shoprite said it would close all its African stores after it was discovered the company had been selling counterfeit goods on the site.
Shoprite CEO David Kallings told the BBC that the closure was part of a broader crackdown by the UK government, and that it was also the result of the company becoming a “target of online crime”.
“We have been under pressure for some time.
We are facing pressure from the authorities,” he added.
“But it is an issue that has become more acute as we are facing the rise in online shopping activity and we have had a big rise in e-scores.”
African leaders are concerned about online crime and online shopping, but have not been able to come up with a solution.
A recent survey by the African Business Forum (ABF) found that most African leaders believed the internet should be regulated to protect the online economy.
However, the survey found that many of the continent’s leaders did not think online shopping should be banned, and a number of countries have introduced restrictions on it.
The UK is the biggest market for online shopping in the European Union, with about 7.3 million shoppers using it each year.
In France, online purchases account for only 0.6 per cent of sales, but the country has seen a rise in crime, with almost 8,000 shoplifting incidents a year.
According for the European Commission, online sales in Europe account for 5.2 per cent – about half of the total.
But the UK is currently the biggest user of the online market in the EU.
According a report from the International Centre for Strategic Studies (ICSS), more than one million online shoppers visited the UK in 2016 and more than 1.5 billion were visited in 2017.
A majority of those visited the British online shopping website through the Ebay platform.
In 2017, UK authorities introduced a new law banning people from using a website to “obstruct or interfere with lawful conduct of a person, organisation or agency”.
According to a report by the Financial