Working Paper

E-commerce for Exporting Garments from South Africa: “Digital Dividend” or Leap of Faith?

Published on 1 January 2003

Despite the ‘optimists’ vigorous support of e-commerce for developing country producers, there remains a gap in our current knowledge of the relationship between e-commerce and global market access.

The paper seeks to address two broad, albeit related, research questions; are leading export-oriented garment producers in South Africa using business to business e-commerce to:

  1. expand their reach into new markets, and
  2. prepare and complete transactions with overseas buyers?

The evidence suggests that e-commerce is not having a significant impact on the business models of the largest South African exporting garment firms. If garment exporting firms were to adopt e-commerce for fully integrated transactions, this would entail a leap of faith. The market is not demanding it, and the payoffs of transaction-oriented e-commerce and e-marketplaces are regarded as being uncertain. Moreover, without active encouragement from buyers, many suppliers are likely to choose to wait.


Mike Morris

Honorary Associate

Publication details

published by
Moodley, S., Morris, M. and Velia, M.
IDS Working Paper, issue 182
1 85864 488 7


About this publication

South Africa

Related content