May 2017

Literacy and eCommerce

The literacy rate of a country has a big impact on the economy as well as its trade. However, the rate of literacy has decreased from

Country 1995 2003 2007
Zambia 78.2 80.6 61.4

These statistics refer to people who cannot read or write. Even with the amount of free primary school in Zambia, the literacy rate has continued to fall. There are many causes of the numbers falling such as diseases, politics and social reason but the ‘why’ we know about and so the ‘how’ is what the leaders of this country both in the public and private sectors are looking to answer. How do we get our literacy rates to rise?

Illiteracy rate is not only limited to people who can reading and writing, there are many types of illiteracy rates. The most important form of illiteracy connected directly to eCommerce is the Technical Illiteracy rate. this mean the number of people who are unable to use a computer or the internet.

There are some people who can switch on a PC and use it for typing or playing games but will have no idea what to do if they are asked to make a trade online. People are not taught the value and convenience of shopping online and so they do not feel the need to participate in eCommerce.

It is this same mentality that shows that when these people begin startups and SME companies of their own, they will not participate in eCommerce increasing the amount of companies that do not see a need for such trade.

Due to the lack of knowledge concerning the uses of computers in developing countries. SMEs use internet least for eCommerce. SMEs that only use eCommerce do not reach the majority of the citizens in our country.

‘Consumers also have little awareness of quality of service issues and there is little protection against unsatisfactory performance by operators and ISPs.’

There are many projects such as the on with LinkNet, that provide local internet access and help for people in rural areas  learn ICT skills that relate to their interests and concerns as well as to help with to rural development and the digital literacy rate of the country.

Such initiatives are leading Zambians out of the dark ages and into a the digital world.

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