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Mena fastest growing e-commerce region

The Middle East and North Africa represents the fastest growing e-commerce region worldwide with an estimated 45 per cent year-on-year growth in its value which soared to $15 billion in 2012 from $10 billion the previous year, said a study conducted by Visa, one of the world’s leading payment solutions providers.

Announcing the launch of an in-depth study of the rapidly-growing e-commerce market across the Mena region, Visa said this comes as part of its ongoing e-commerce drive and is the first-of-its-kind report in the region that provides a worldwide comparison of key markets.

It is set to play a major part in benchmarking the e-commerce performance and the future growth potential across Mena region, the company stated.

The data for the study has been provided by the UK body for e-Retail, the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), supported by commentary from the International Omni Retailing Members Association (IORMA) and Dubai-based online shopping mall Tejuri.com.

A lack of available information and market data has prevented businesses and government from effectively evaluating the potential for e-commerce growth and development in the region, said a statement from Visa.

The decision to commission this report enforces Visa’s mandate to build e-commerce in the region and will identify current levels of e-commerce performance and potential by assessing the breadth of existing research undertaken in the region, it noted.

The report is available to businesses and the government to help them understand the significant trends in the region and plan their e-commerce strategies – an important area of focus as internet usage in the region has grown by a staggering 1,500 per cent since 2000, up from 1.2 million users in 2000 to 18.7 million in 2010, it added.

Ihab Ayoub, Visa GM for Mena said, “E-commerce is one of the key drivers for the economy in today’s closely-connected global environment, and is rapidly expanding here in the GCC. But rapid growth also means that both individuals and business organisations will have a natural level of concern about the security of online transactions.”

“However, with trusted payment platforms like Visa, we provide customers with a secured payment system that ensures their trust and confidence to use their Visa cards online for a convenient way to shop that benefits them and retailers,” he noted.

“Visa has been a pioneer in e-commerce and has always strived to make it safe, reliable and convenient. Through initiatives such as this, Visa is continuing to support and drive the e-commerce industry across the Middle East,” he added.

John Andrews, the chairman and CEO of IORMA said, “With a relatively young, technology-aware population and a modern telecoms infrastructure, the region has a powerful opportunity to take a leading position concerning e-commerce regionally, and internationally.”

“This report clearly demonstrates the strong retailing and broader economic opportunities that lay ahead for the region,” he observed.

Ayaz Maqbool, the managing director of Tejuri.com, the region’s first online shopping mall and the local e-commerce partner for Visa, said: “Mena has witnessed a significant increase in internet usage and it comes as no surprise that the internet is quickly becoming the cornerstone for business and communication.”


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