Tradern: a collaborative model for improving small business participation in electronic commerce in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ojukwu, Dili (2009) Tradern: a collaborative model for improving small business participation in electronic commerce in sub-Saharan Africa. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

The inception of the Internet has brought with it Electronic Commerce (E-Commerce) practices which have greatly transformed the ways firms conduct businesses globally. Internet-based E-Commerce, particularly business-to-business (B2B) holds the key for small businesses to compete on a level playing field with their big business counterparts. Unfortunately, however, there is considerable evidence to show that small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries, particularly those in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), have not been reaping the benefits of this new commerce opportunity as their counterparts in North America and Europe. This chasm has given rise to another form of Digital Divide. This research has identified the major factors responsible for this state of affairs as the low level of participation by the SMEs in the SSA region in this global E-Commerce trade. SSA region has been identified as a region with the lowest level of economic, technological and Internet development in the world. There are 49 Countries in this region inhabited by over 633 million people representing about 10% of the world's population. They are characterised by a low income, low-levels of human resource development, as well as severe structural, social, political and economic weaknesses. All these have combined to make the region the poorest region in the world. It has been established that SMEs form the bedrock of every economy. There is also considerable evidence to suggest that the introduction of new technologies into organisations of all kinds and sizes has a major impact on the structure and functioning of the organizations. Furthermore, it has been established that B2B E-Commerce is contributing more to the global economy than all other forms of E-Commerce transactions. Equipping SMEs in developing countries, particularly those in SSA, by with emerging B2B technologies could help improve their growth potential which will invariably place them in a better position to contribute to the region's economic advancement. Existing models have failed in attracting large numbers of SMEs in the region, partly due to the prohibitive costs of these technologies which make them unaffordable by the poor SMEs. This research has identified that the issues of Trust as well as the problems associated with Fraud and Security also play a part in making E-Commerce unattractive to a lot of SMEs in SSA. Current theoretical frameworks have been extended by developing a new taxonomy showing the various components of E-Business where the distinctions between E-Commerce, E-Government, Tele-Medicine and E-Learning are clearly identified. This thesis seeks to find solutions to the identified problems by finding ways of attracting more SMEs in SSA to participate in the global E-Commerce endeavour. This is with a view to enabling them to leverage and maximise their E-Commerce potential, which in turn would help them exploit today's global E-Commerce opportunities. This will ultimately help them in contributing to the economic growth of the region. As a way of making E-Commerce attractive, affordable and profitable, an architectural model has been designed which, it is believed, would make the deployment and implementation of B2B E-Commerce more achievable for the poor SMEs in SSA. This model, known as Tradern Model, combines the trado-cultural and modern methods of conducting business. This combination would help SMEs deploying the technology to conduct their businesses using both methods without compromising their growth. Over and above everything else there is the benefit of a level-playing field which the SMEs in developing economies, like Africa, and particularly Sub-Saharan Africa, can capitalise on to leapfrog, improve and sustain their economic development and global e-business participation as a step towards bridging the digital divide.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:

A thesis submitted to Middlesex University in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science.

Research Areas:School of Science and Technology > Computer and Communications Engineering
Theses
ID Code:8110
Deposited On:17 Aug 2011 08:14
Last Modified:18 Jul 2014 19:00

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