tasting success in e commerce a case of disintermediation in women small businesses in tanzania n.
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Tasting Success in E-commerce: A Case of Disintermediation in Women Small Businesses in Tanzania

Tasting Success in E-commerce: A Case of Disintermediation in Women Small Businesses in Tanzania

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Tasting Success in E-commerce: A Case of Disintermediation in Women Small Businesses in Tanzania

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  1. Tasting Success in E-commerce: A Case of Disintermediation in Women Small Businesses in Tanzania • Introduction • Definitions • Empowerment from e-commerce • Method of data collection • The two cases of women empowered by e-commerce • Conclusion By Faustin Kamuzora, University of Bradford Outline

  2. Introduction Situation of women in Tanzania • They are 52% of population • Relatively more illiterate (36% cf. 20.4% for men) but with better relative WEM • Majority live in rural areas where poverty is more prevalent (87% of poor live in rural areas as per Household Baseline Survey of 2001) • E-commerce has potential to empowering some (women)

  3. Definitions: • E-commerce(OECD narrow definition (employed in presentation)): An Internet transaction is the sale or purchase of goods or services, whether between businesses, households, individuals, governments and other public –private organizations, conducted over the Internet. The goods and services are ordered over those networks, but the payment and the ultimate delivery of the good or service may be conducted on or offline. • Disintermediation: removal of [some] intermediaries in a supply chain: "cutting out the middleman". ..companies may now deal with every customer directly, for example via the Internet (

  4. Definition 2 Empowerment • “the expansion in people’s ability to make strategic life choices in a context where this ability was previously denied to them” (Kabeer, 1999: 473). • “expansion of capabilities of persons to lead the kinds of lives they value” (Sen, 1999: 18). • Transforming structures, institutions, beliefs that place women in a subordinate position in the society i.e. address women strategic needs (Moser, 1993)

  5. Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) • A composite index measuring gender inequality in three basic dimensions of empowerment—economic participation and decision-making, political participation and decision-making and power over economic resources. • The GEM value for Tanzania is 0.538 (of 1.0) and it ranks 42nd (HDR, 2005). · Women held 21.4% before end of 2005 (now 30%) of parliamentary seats, and make up 32% of professional and technical workers. 49% of administrators and managers are women.

  6. E-commerce and Empowerment • With 1 billion Internet users (WebProNews, 2005), the cost of not being on the web is quite high (Castel, 2000) • The UNCTAD (2002) considers E-commerce as a “ potential gold mine for women in developing countries” • E-commerce can be a critical device for women’s economic empowerment and gender equality in trade (Diop, 2006) • E-commerce can empower women by addressing both practical and strategic gender needs (Huyer and Sikoska, 2003).

  7. Progress of E-commerce Research Priorities Empowerment through disinterme-diation as an impact Source: OECD, 2001

  8. Methods for data collection • In-depth interviews with the proprietors of the two cases (one in Bukoba, May 2005 and another in Dar es Salaam in March 2006) • Research on the web • Secondary data

  9. Cases of Empowerment from e-commerce Tanzania • Case 1: Women A from own initiative created a tour operating company and a website promoting ( Kagera region as cultural tourism destination. Her efforts were rewarded by Minister responsible for tourism by being appointed a director in Tanzania Tourism Board => both gender needs have been addressed.

  10. Disintermediation at work Number of tourists served by Kiroyera “Many customers visit our website and initiate enquiries. Even if these visitors are not coming to Bukoba, we have our partners in Arusha and Dar es Salaam who take care of them and in turn pay us some commission for passing the business to them.” Kalikawe, May 20, 05

  11. Cases of Empowerment from E-commerce in Tanzania (2) • Case 2: Woman B deals with apparel (batik dresses, skirts, shirts, and home decorations: curtains, cushions, pillowcases, bedcovers, tablemats, table runners, napkins) • Started business in 1980s with local market but of recent export market has become an important mix thanks from initiatives such as AGOA, Tanzania Gatsby Trust, Aid to Artisans (ATA) of USA, International Federation for Alternative Trade (IFAT), African Development Foundation (ADAT) and PeopLink.

  12. Disintermediation at work 2 • Initially, export to external markets was done through intermediaries • Currently, more than 80% of external market access is direct thanks to her website and e-mail.

  13. A Tale of Two Websites • Own haba na haba (

  14. Tale … continued • Own website ( was created by Tanzaniagateway project as means of assisting SMEs in e-commerce • On her travel to USA she asked Haba na haba foundation to feature her on their website • She fancies the featured pages on Habanahaba • E-commerce has enhanced her empowerment in both strategic and practical needs • She is a member of several important committees

  15. Two cases comparison (similarities) • Both claim to have benefited through direct contacts with their customers • Both entrepreneurs lack web skills • Effective use of e-mails for initial business contacts as well as CRM • Both websites are static (lower on e-commerce ladder (Cisco, 2000) • Both employ generic top level domain names (dot com instead of .tz ccTLD) • Both do not conduct web analytics

  16. Comparison (difference) • constantly updated and upgraded • search engine optimised • Massawe claims e-commerce has increase transparency in her business

  17. Conclusion • E-commerce through disintermediation if carefully planned and implemented have the potential of addressing both gender needs in developing countries. • Some intermediary agents may be by-passed (not necessarily all) • Despite the paucity of successful cases of e-commerce, a few cases are there • However, this temporary benefit may not last unless the pace of web knowledge of SMEs in developing countries catches up with the rest of the world.

  18. Tasting Success in E-commerce: A Case of Disintermediation in Women Small Businesses in Tanzania • Thank you for your attention By Faustin Kamuzora, University of Bradford