Rwanda flag Rwanda: Buying and Selling

E-commerce in Rwanda


Internet access
According to the Rwanda Utility Regulatory Authority (RURA), of the current population of 12 million, internet users in the country have reached 5.6 million in 2018. The official projections show that by 2020 the rate should reach nearly 60%. Most of the users access the internet from smart phones: Rwanda’s mobile telephone penetration rate stood at 76.6% in 2018, with almost 9 million subscriptions. The main operator is MTN Rwanda (43%), followed by Tigo Rwanda and Airtel (38% and 19%, respectively).
Rwanda continues to be one of the fastest growing African countries in the ICT sector, with good IT infrastructure compared to the standards of the region.
The most popular web search engines in Rwanda are Google (93.5%), Bing and Yahoo (4.5% and 1.5% respectively).
E-commerce market
E-commerce is relatively new in Rwanda, nevertheless the market is growing at a fast pace, with several new tech start-ups and international companies that started activities in the country in the last couple of years. The government is actively supporting online retail and the ICT sector in general, and has put in place measures to protect e-shoppers, for example by adopting the proprietary information security standard for online payments.  Furthermore, citizens and businesses can now use e-government portals to pay taxes and fees. According to UNCTAD’s B2C E-commerce Index 2018, Rwanda ranks 116th out of 151 economies at world level in terms of e-commerce, and 19th out of 44 African countries. Among the factors that hinder the sector’s growth are the physical infrastructure of the country, which make it often difficult to deliver goods, and the fact that the population is not too used to banking services (65% of adults use other formal but non-bank financial products or services). For now, most of the B2C trade is related to the airlines, hospitality, banking, food delivery and courier services sectors. The main portals include Kaymu, Lamudi, Jovago, and Hellofood - which are all part of Jumia, a Nigerian e-commerce firm – Gurisha,, Carisoko and Ntuma. China and the United Arab Emirates are the main e-commerce partners and online ordering typically goes through Alibaba and Ali Express. The most common payment methods are Western Union, MoneyGram, and HubShil. Social media is widely used in Rwanda including WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Many start-ups and SMEs use Facebook or other social media for advertising. According to IWS, there are more than half a million Facebook users in the country.

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Latest Update: May 2024