The Ecommerce Forum South Africa (EFSA) Board has announced country manager of PayU Karen Nadasen as its new chairperson. Photo: Supplied
The Ecommerce Forum South Africa (EFSA) Board has announced country manager of PayU Karen Nadasen as its new chairperson. Photo: Supplied

Karen Nadasen appointed chairperson of EFSA as Covid-19 leapfrogs eCommerce

By Sizwe Dlamini Time of article published May 29, 2020

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CAPE TOWN – In what is expected to be South Africa’s biggest year for the adoption of eCommerce, The Ecommerce Forum South Africa (EFSA) Board this week announced country manager of PayU Karen Nadasen as its new chairperson.

Since Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel’s lift on the ban of unfettered eCommerce last week, online shopping has been positioned as enabler for those instructed to stay home and stay safe and has moved more South Africans to purchase online with the SA Revenue Service (SARS) Commissioner Edward Kieswetter claiming that the Covid-19 moment could leapfrog eCommerce into the future, an opportunity not to be missed by the country.

There are more than 12 000 FinTech companies operating across the world, and Goldman Sachs estimates the global FinTech market to be worth $4.7 trillion (more than R86 trillion). As this innovation becomes more visible and familiar, consumers are more likely to actively seek out best-in-class brands and experiences.

“We are delighted by the government’s recent decision last Thursday to allow online sales. The EFSA has been working with the government since the start of Lockdown to ensure this result, and we shall continue to do so to ensure that any issues which arise are smoothly resolved,” Nadasen said. 

The EFSA is the South Africa Chapter of the pan-African body, Ecommerce Forum Africa, and is the forum for all players in the eCommerce industry — working cohesively with each other to enrich the overall eCommerce industry in South Africa.

Its mission is to increase awareness, confidence and capability of eCommerce and to promote inclusivity in the sector. EFSA launched a Trustmark, Safe.Shop, at the end of last year, to encourage greater consumer trust in eCommerce.

eShops are checked to ensure that they comply with the relevant South African laws, and can then carry the Trustmark icon. An alternative dispute resolution mechanism is built into the Trustmark to deal with the customer complaints that cannot be solved otherwise.

South African e-tailers have seen online shopping spike from its previous trading norms prior to the lockdown. This follows global growth indicators, including a report from ACI Worldwide, which showed global eCommerce sales in April experienced a 209 percent growth compared to the same period last year.

“I am delighted to take the Chair of the EFSA. We will be building on our existing strengths and representational work with the government, but in particular, I want to encourage greater emphasis on empowering women in the eCommerce ecosystem. We have set up a working group, led by one of our board members, Mpho Sekwele, to look at how we can push this agenda with government and with international bodies,” said Nadasen.

Nadasen, a passionate technologist in the Fintech sector, also heads up diversity and inclusion for PayU in Africa and is an advocate and avid supporter of women in STEM. She is regularly described as one of South Africa’s most inspiring women in tech, nominated for IT Personality of the Year 2017, listed among 100 Most Influential Young South Africans 2017 and the Regional Winner (SADC) of Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government 2018.

Though Nadasen’s industry experience in the technology sector, mostly abroad, ranges from FTSE 100 companies and large multi-nationals, she started out as a Java developer in a small development house in Cape Town.


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