Ever heard of Aristotle? The ancient Greek philosopher? He once said that ”the roots of education are bitter but the fruits are sweet”. However, in order to harvest the sweet fruits, we need firm and strong roots to ensure proper growth and fertility. E-commerce is Africa’s new positive plague and is spreading like wildfire. Many top businessmen predict that in the next decade or two, e-commerce will drive over 70% of all business activities. In order to develop Ghana’s e-commerce potential, education is key. How does a country like Ghana prepare the grounds for a successful future in e-commerce? Jumia Travel, Africa’s leading online travel website looks at education as a key asset for the success of e-commerce in Ghana.
Just before we dive into how education can be the key to unlocking Ghana’s e-commerce potential, let us first look into some benefits of e-commerce. Firstly, e-commerce is the main business that requires a very low setup cost when viewed in respect to other offline businesses. You don’t need a physical office, lot’s of logistics and equipment to start an e-commerce business. Secondly, with e-commerce, there is little overhead expense. You do not have to pay utilities and salaries of so many staff which also may include health insurances, pension levies etc.
Another very critical benefit is that with e-commerce your potential client base is endless. You can reach millions of people with a single activity as well as get your products and services sold quickly.
What about education? Generally, education helps to reduce poverty,increase income and boost economic growth. Usually considered as one of the basic tools of development all over the world, education is undoubtedly a key asset for the success of any industry.
Curriculum – School is the first point of call in any education sector. In Ghana, there are curriculums from the nursery level right to the tertiary levels. How about incorporating e-commerce into these curriculums? Can we find a way to get the primary school child to learn about computers and the internet in relation to business? Already, subjects like IT exists but if we go a step further by making e-commerce an integral part of our education curriculum at all levels, we will instill in our students the right mentality and appetite for future development. Being that young people and children absorb faster than adults, it is imperative that we begin to teach e-commerce, it’s benefits and characteristics from that early stage of education. Through that, we will be grooming a future of e-commerce experts that will drive that industry.
Information Technology – The world has become a global village they say, and yes they are right. These days, it is absolutely impossible to go through a week without using some form of technology. Almost inevitable, a smartphone or computer device. Agreeably, to effectively develop e-commerce, Information technology is mandatory. Knowing about computers, smartphones and the internet is just one of the many requirements. Apart from what is learnt in schools, it is imperative that organizations and employees take the pain in training both fulltime and prospective employees in IT to ensure that everyone is inclined and well equipped for the daunting tasks ahead.
Research – In life, the most secure way to keep improving is by constantly staying up to speed with changing trends. The most effective way to do this is by research. Knowing what is happening around you only helps to correct mistakes and adapt to fast changing trends and techniques. Research is an integral part of the education process and if we are to succeed with e-commerce, then we have to pay close attention to research. From mainstream government research to individual and private sector research, all hands must be on deck. Information is good, let’s take advantage of it.
Nationwide education – When all is said and done, who benefits the most from e-commerce? From where we stand, it’s the end users. The customers who place orders and do bookings. The safety, convenience and speed of service delivery is just what everyone craves for. However, to maximize this great innovation and get the best out of it, the users must be educated to use the various tools and use them well. We owe it to ourselves as beneficiaries to have a desire for learning how to use these tools and devices. A much quicker and effective way will also be that both the government and private sectors invest in educating the whole nation on the usage, benefits and effects of e-commerce. An intensive nationwide campaign may just get more people using the internet for business. The impacts of this are immeasurable.
As the Late Nelson Mandela rightly said ”EDUCATION IS THE MOST POWERFUL WEAPON WHICH WE CAN USE TO CHANGE THE WORLD.” Let’s use it and the world will never be the same again.
Author : Bennet Otoo, Jumia Travel