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FTInsight April/May 2016

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Tech Talk Survey results

Tech Talk Survey results show the Internet is not an essential part of the economic infrastructure in Sierra Leone The internet is a fact of international business life and Sierra Leonean businesses could benefit enormously from an e-presence. Yet a recent FT Insight survey on the e-readiness of Sierra Leone’s business sector, showed that the internet is not yet an essential part of the economic infrastructure in Sierra Leone, with almost 45% of business respondents admitting that they do not have a website. Yes No 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 The development of e-commerce in Sierra Leone has admittedly been hobbled by the limitations of our financial, legal and physical infrastructure. But even if a firm’s goods and services don’t lend themselves to online purchases, a business website offers other useful ways of connecting with customers – online booking, promotions, newsletters and 24/7 two-way communication to name just a few. We asked Sierra Leonean businesses what was keeping them from maximising the value of commercial connectivity? If you are in business in Sierra Leone but do not have a business website, what are the reasons? The two most common reasons given by respondents is that e-commerce does not fit with their business model (37%) and that Sierra Leone’s telecoms and tech infrastructure isn’t ready for e-commerce (37%). Almost 32% said that e-commerce did not fit with their goods and services. Twenty-six percent said that unreliable access to the internet would prevent them from maintaining their website. Lack of technical know-how and the high costs of building and maintaining a website are an impediment to 21%. Almost 16% hadn’t got round to building a business website, but it was in their plans. Business benef its of an online presence: • The cost of running an e-business can be less than a physical one • Easier cross-border trading in Sub Sahara Africa • Transparency • Information sharing • Customer service • Establish yourself as a thought leader • Marketing • Communication with clients and customers • Showcase your goods and services

E-commerce doesn’t fit Answer choices Responses E-commerce doesn’t fit E-commerce doesn’t fit We don’t see the advantag... Lack of technical... We are concerned ab... The costs are too high... We do not have the right... We do not know what equipme.... We plan to build a... I don’t have reliable acc... Sierra Leone’s telecommunic... E-commerce doesn’t fit with our products/services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31.58% E-commerce doesn’t fit with the way we do business . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36.84% E-commerce doesn’t fit the way our customers work . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10.53% We don’t see the advantage of using E-commerce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10.53% Lack of technical know-how . . . . . . . . . . . .21.05% We are concerned about security risks . . . . . . . 5.26% The costs are too high . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21.05% We do not have the right equipment . . . . . . . 5.26% We do not know what equipment we need . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.26% We plan to build a business website, but just haven’t got round to it yet . . . . . . . . .15.79% I don’t have reliable access to the internet and would not be able to maintain my platform . . . 26.32% Sierra Leone’s telecommunications and technical infrastructure isn’t ready for e-commerce . . . . 36.84% FT FT Insight 23 10 20 30 40 50 A substantial number of businesses with an online presence found that their website wasn’t particularly helpful for generating work, reporting that they receive less than 10% of their business through the internet. However, an encouraging 15% receive over 50% of their business via the web. If you do have a business website, how much business or potential business do you get through your website? Less than 10% Answer choices Responses From 10% - 25% From 25% - 50% From 50% - 75% From 75% - 100% Others (please specify) Less than 10% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42.42% From 10%-25% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.15% From 25%-50% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.03% From 50%-75% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.09% LFrom 75%-100% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.06% Others (please specify) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24.24% 10 20 30 40 50 www.ftinsight.net

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Leone Sector Insight Economic Governance Freetown Countries Investors Herbert Opportunities www.ftinsight.net