This research aims to determine the factors that hinder the developing countries from effectively participating in global e-commerce. By looking at the emerging threats posed by the advent of the Internet such as privacy, security, and management control issues, this research specifically aims to determine how developing countries respond to the global phenomenon of e-commerce and the contributing factors that influence a developing country’s participation in the global e-commerce. Also, this research aims to determine how these factors influence a developing country’s participation in the global e-commerce. Based on the findings of this study, the researcher will provide his insight on the future of e-commerce. The researcher will also provide recommendations that will guide policy makers in formulating and implementing ICT policies and strategies regarding e-commerce.
The challenges of globalization and the advent of the Internet have changed the way of life. It has changed the way the world works, communicates, learns and transacts business. With the availability of the Internet, the world has become one big place accessible to everyone.
Today, everyone participates, in one way or another, in a global transaction, regardless of his/her location, transcending the boundaries of the world. This phenomenon of transacting business using electronic communications processes and facilities is now referred to as global Electronic commerce or e-commerce.
However, the level of participation of people to global e-commerce varies from one country to another. Earlier researches noted that there is limited participation among people from developing countries in this activity. In this regard, this research aims to determine the factors that hinder the developing countries from effectively participating in global e-commerce by looking at the emerging threats posed by the advent of the Internet such as privacy, security, and management control issues. Based on the findings of this study, the researcher will provide his insight on the future of e-commerce. The researcher will also provide recommendations that will guide policy makers in formulating and implementing ICT policies and strategies regarding e-commerce.
The Research Questions:
1. How do developing countries respond to the global phenomenon of e-commerce?
2. What are the contributing factors that influence a developing country’s participation in the global e-commerce?
3. How do these factors influence a developing country’s participation in the global e-commerce?
Paul and others (1999) defines e-commerce as all transactions utilizing information technology for carrying out business regardless of distance or geographical position. It relies mainly on information technology, interconnectivity and currency compatibility (Madewasel, 2003) and can be looked at as the aspect of business which utilizes information technology to make profits. Esselaar and Miller (2001) enumerated the three kinds of transactions involved in the e-commerce as trade in physical goods such as those offered in Amazon.com, trade in offline teleservices and virtual goods and trade in online services which pave the way for the popularity of the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector such as call centers.
E-commerce is very prevalent in the developed countries whereby online shopping, electronic money transfer as well as use of electronic money as opposed to paper money is widely acceptable (Kumar, Manoj &Feldman (1998). However, developing countries such as Africa are noted to have minimal participation in the global e-commerce (Kumar, Manoj and Feldman, 1998).
Esselaar and Miller (2001) further noted that in e-commerce, it is also important to note the source of the goods or services and its intended customer or consumer. E-commerce transactions involve individual consumers, businesses and governments. In this regard, e-commerce can be categorized as business-to-consumer (B2C), involving “direct business transactions between individual consumer supplying companies; business-to-business (B2B), enabling links between “businesses in the value chain to each other”; and government-to-consumer (G2C) and government-to-business (G2B), involving transactions between government agencies and individual citizens and businesses (Esselaar and Miller 2001).
Management control issues. Customer service and satisfaction “pose challenges for e-commerce” (Madewasel, 2003 b). Unlike traditional business transactions where complaints can be processed over the counter, a little misunderstanding in online transactions can result into heightened tensions. In order to avoid this instance, e-commerce puts a lot of pressure on both sides to act as responsibly as possible.
Communication. E-commerce transactions are done remotely among parties. This pose high reliance on the clarity and the efficiency of communication in order to facilitate successful transactions.
Inter-partner trust. Ecommerce sometimes involves parties who hardly know each other. Therefore, transactions are done on a trust basis.
This research will embark on a qualitative research design utilizing a combination of research instruments including semi-structured interview with key government officials of developing countries as well as with experts on ICT and e-commerce. This research will also look at the existing literature on similar topic and establish an analysis of the findings and claims of the researchers and writers.
E-commerce has brought about great changes in the way people transact business. It is a powerful tool to overcome and transcend geographical boundaries. The phenomenal growth of the Internet and boundless trading opportunities offered by e-commerce has been pushing governments worldwide to ensure that they have updated and timely E-commerce policy in place, one that is compatible across borders. As developing countries continue to struggle toward having their existence felt in the global e-commerce market, it is important for the government to identify the factors that affect their participation and create notable ICT and e-commerce policies.