Challenges of E-commerce and online shopping in Afghanistan

e-commerce and online shopping challenges in Afghanistan

The biggest challenges that e-commerce and online websites in Afghanistan face are the following:

  1. Unavailability of e-payment gateway
  2. Unavailability of proper address system
  3. Security concerns
Unavailability of e-payment gateway: Though Afghanistan payment systems recently announced on their website that they have launched Af-Pay which is domestic card scheme With the support of the Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) to enhance and promote financial inclusion. The new payment scheme has been branded as “AfPay” and will compete in the domestic market with other international payment schemes. It still seems that Afghanistan has to face huge challenges in this particular subject.
On April 11, 2019, Afghanistan Payment Systems published this article on their Facebook page regarding Afghanistan National e-payment switch in increasing accessibility to formal financial services (Financial Inclusion):
Afghans are lacking convenient, secure, proper, affordable and sustainable access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance – delivered in a responsible and sustainable way.
Financial inclusion deals with individuals and businesses by providing them facilities to have access to financial products and services that meet their needs. Financial access facilitates day-to-day living and helps families and businesses plan for everything from long-term goals to unexpected emergencies. As account holders, people are more likely to use other financial services, to start and expand businesses, invest in education or health, manage risk, and whether financial shocks, which can improve the overall quality of their lives.
It is described as the method of offering banking and financial solutions and services to every individual in the society without any form of discrimination. It primarily aims to include everybody in society by giving them basic financial services without looking at a person’s income or savings. Financial inclusion chiefly focuses on providing reliable financial solutions to the economically underprivileged sections of the society without having any unfair treatment. It intends to provide financial solutions without any signs of inequality. It is also committed to being transparent while offering financial assistance without any hidden transactions or costs.
Afghanistan Payments System (APS), the National e-Payment Switch of Afghanistan operates under the umbrella of Central Bank of Afghanistan (DAB). APS is the sole provider of electronic payment services which is trying to develop the technical infrastructure of E-payment, to programs through which to provide various financial services to Afghan citizens in the country. 
APS with the support of DAB can be pretty much helpful in providing easier ways to strengthen financial inclusion. 
Followings are the main plans APS has for increasing access to Formal Financial Services:
– Implementing shared e-payment network (Interoperability) among banks, Mobile Money Service Providers and PSPs which will allow people to take advantage of formal financial services especially in remote areas.
– Providing Domestic Card Scheme “Afpay” and expansion of POS and ATM networks 
– APS can provide public awareness programs to Afghan citizens in order to their capacity and understanding regarding financial inclusion.
– Assist the authorities and policymakers in developing guidelines for Consumer Protection and financial inclusion.
challenges of e-commerce and e-payment in Afghanistan
Looking at the importance of financial inclusion in Afghanistan, we can summarize that it’s very important for both APS and DAB to keep an eye on financial inclusion and to inject this concept to all financial institutions. This will be a key element to provide a sufficient level of awareness into the financial market and will help Afghan citizens to have access to formal financial services. 
Finally, all of these will lead to a transparent and secure financial system and a prosperous, stable and a developed Afghan economy.
ecommerce and online shopping challenges in Afghanistan
Unavailability of proper address system: It is very difficult for delivery boys in Afghanistan to deliver the product to their customers, As Afghans embrace online shopping, harried delivery men in the capital are increasingly running the gauntlet of security checkpoints, gridlocked traffic, and potholed roads – as well as the near-constant threat of blasts and attacks. Lost in Kabul’s labyrinthine streets, delivery boys often arrive at their destination late, sometimes by several hours. Delivery boys in Afghanistan than have to endure the abuse of angry customers who have been waiting for their package.
Security Concerns: The biggest challenge that creates barriers for online shopping and -commerce in Afghanistan is the bad security situation in Afghanistan, it’s very sad to say that Afghanistan still remains among the most unsecured nations around the world. Though this factor can be a positive side for this business in Afghanistan in terms of getting more product orders from customers who don’t will to go to the city and buy stuff in person. On the contrary, it is a dangerous factor for online businesses in Afghanistan because sometimes it may result in the death of employees of online businesses. On the one hand, there is a risk of a whole country being in the bad security situation, on the other hand, poor delivery boys fall in the trap of goons and robbers. Many online shopping businesses in Afghanistan who sell their products using Facebook advertising fall in traps of thieves and robbers, what they do is that they receive bulk orders from someone and when the delivery boy delivers the product to them, they get robbed. The reason being for this is that there is no proper gun control in Afghanistan and one can easily buy an automatic or semi-automatic weapon from a local gun store.

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