" ITREALMS: Internet Governance: Ewelukwa to address eCommerce

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Internet Governance: Ewelukwa to address eCommerce

A Senior Teaching Fellow in International Trade Law with the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Dr. Nnaemeka Ewelukwa, has confirmed his participation at this year’s Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum (NDSF), which focus is on Internet Governance and Development in the country.

Disclosing this, the Executive Director, DigitalSENSE Africa, the organizers of NDSF, Mrs. Nkemdilim Nweke noted that the theme for this year is on ‘Internet Governance and Broadband Evolution in Nigeria.’

She also said that Dr. Ewelukwa’s participation would be on a paper presentation entitled ‘The Legal Framework for E-Commerce and M-Commerce in Africa: Nigeria as a Case Study.”

She quoted an abstract submitted by Dr. Ewelukwa, as indicating that within the past two decades, there has been a phenomenal increase in the electronic commerce (e-commerce) mode of transacting businesses, with billions of dollars spent online globally every year by business people that meet in cyberspace to transact in various goods or services.

As said by her, while the United States and the European Union are currently market leaders in ecommerce, the increasing deployment of broadband internet in African countries like Nigeria, Rwanda and Kenya hold promises for these countries to also tap into this market may be the key to unlocking the full trading potentials of their citizens, and ultimately contributing to overall economic growth and development.

Also, she described as fascinating the rapid adoption of mobile commerce (m-commerce) in many African countries, of which Nigeria has through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently licensed over 15 companies.

Pointing out that with an increasing number of Africans now using their mobile phones to transfer money, it eases payments for goods or services electronically.

Equally speaking, Dr. Ewelukwa noted that while these technological innovations are very commendable, “it is important that they do not run ahead of laws that ensure their legal utilization and proper regulation in respective jurisdictions.”

Ewelukwa pointed out that his paper would analyse the legal framework for e-commerce and m-commerce in Africa specifically focusing on Nigeria, which according to statistics has the highest percentage of mobile phones with Internet access in the continent.

He wondered if Nigerians legally enter into online business transactions, what contractual communication validly undertaken through text messages are there to adequately and legally protect them from various risks associated with businesses using these modern forms of business communication.

“Are there other non-legal constraints that can impede the uptake of e-commerce and m-commerce in Nigeria,” he further wondered, stressing that these are some of the questions that will be addressed in his paper.

“It will be argued that a lot still needs to be done to ensure the stability of the legal and regulatory framework for electronic and mobile commerce in Nigeria, and give confidence to those that transact business through these means,” he said.

Noteworthy is that Dr. Ewelukwa is a Barrister and Solicitor as well as Managing Director of a London-based African Legal Consulting Limited.

Remmy Nweke:
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