Gambia, The - Country Commercial Guide

Describes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and covers prominent B2B websites.

Last published date: 2020-09-17

eCommerce in The Gambia has yet to become an established method of purchasing goods. However, recent and ongoing improvements to ICT connectivity and energy reliability are opening the country up as an excellent location for investment. The economy is predicted to grow steadily in the coming years, leading to a greater market for e-commerce services. Mobile phone penetration rate is very high (exceeding 100 percent), and offers promising opportunities for e-commerce. The proportion of mobile phone users with data connection is approximately 14 percent, but has been growing rapidly at an average annual rate of 40 percent over the past several years. The industries that currently make use of mobile technology are the banking and mobile phone sectors. All the major commercial banks provide some form of e-banking service, and at least two of the mobile companies (Africell and Qcell) offer mobile money transfer services.  Besides these two sectors, the percentage of products or services sold online is almost zero, due to the the lack of electronic check out options

Current Market Trends:  No new government laws or regulations affecting online businesses were passed within the past year.  Goods are increasingly being advertised online, mainly through social media, but final sale or sales transaction are done in person.  Reduced data charges would significantly boost the number of internet users and hence the number of individuals that can be reached via e-commerce.  Trends to encourage more cashless transactions, such as establishing POS systems at retail shops, might also incentivise more Gambians to opt for online shopping.  Currently, the number of retailers providing this as a payment option are very limited.

Domestic eCommerce (B2C):  Mobile money will likely continue to be the area where eCommerce activity is concentrated in The Gambia over the next few years. Utility payments will also continue to integrate eCommerce infrastracture, since households can purchase pay-as-you-go energy tickets, locally referred to as the “Cash Power Ticket System”, at ATM points and via mobile money platforms. 

B2B eCommerce:  Business to business transactions are seldom done via eCommerce platforms. The Gambian market is overwhelmingly characterized by cash transactions. Tax evasion plays a major role in determining the preference of businesses of cash transactions over eCommerce.

eCommerce Services:  A limited number of Gambian businesses operate with a website and among those that do, even fewer run websites which can be rated at an international standard.  Among young entrepreneurs, few have started developing mobile-based eCommerce platforms, but the majority of these only serve to advertise goods and services online, listing a point of contact with whom buyers can meet to conduct the transaction in person.

Online Payment:  Online payments are not common in The Gambia as many ‘eCommerce’ platforms only advertise goods and services that depend on cash payments for final sales.

Mobile eCommerce:  Mobile banking has become popular among consumers. Consumers can pay serval bills including electricty top-up, school fees, mobile top-up, pay for groceries in stores. In addition consumers have the option make emergency ATM withdrawals and can make bank transfers both internatlly and externally.