Ugandan businesses engaged in e-commerce have Friday launched an association, which is hoped to give them a stronger voice in building the budding sub sector.
The E-Trade and Start-up Association of Uganda was launched Friday in Kampala by the State Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Hon Godfrey Kabbyanga.
Some of the founding members of the association include hail service company Safe Boda, Jumia, Tugende, Glovo among others.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Ron Kawamara, the association chairman and CEO Jumia said they decided to come together as businesses to tackle some of difficult challenges faced in e-commerce.
He cited some of the challenges they have had to battle as a group, including high internet costs, excessive taxes such as the Digital Sales Tax, OTT, the ban on Facebook among others.
“At the start everyone was by themselves, but we realised that you just can’t do it alone; that is why we came together to build an ecosystem together with government,” he said.
Mr Kawamara touted the massive potential of e-commerce in Uganda if government helps by levelling the playing field.
He noted, “…the fastest growing companies in the world today are tech companies. In Uganda, in the last 5 years, the companies involved in e-trade have brought in about USD 300million, which is a massive investment. And yet this is still peanuts, when you look at the potential that is there. We think we can inject into the economy from 150 to 200million dollars a year,” he said.
On his part, Ricky Thomson, the Safe Boda co-founder said the new association is intended to help their businesses get better audience from government.
“Everything we are doing here is new; we are building from scratch and so even the regulations that come up are only catching up with us,” he said.
“So we thought the right way of doing business is through unity.”
The association, he said, is currently welcoming new members in the e-trade, including new start-ups and those that have been around, but using technology to solve people’s problems.
Minister Kabbyanga who represented Hon Chris Baryomunsi, commended the companies for choosing to work together, even though they are competitors.
“One challenge we meet as government is to deal with so many voices, often talking the same thing but with different voices. But now that you are one voice we shall know who to go to,” he said.