Challenges & opportunities: Impact of digital economy & e-commerce on global trade 

In its core, e-commerce could be defined as the trading of goods and services through electronic media. This business model has been particularly promoted by the growth of technologies like mobile devices, mobile commerce, e-payments, Internet banking, automated data collection systems and increased access to Internet facilities across the world.

“E-commerce is a train that has left the station and is quickly gathering speed. Digitalization continues to further transform what we do and how we do things.” said UNCTAD Secretary General, Mukhisa Kituyi. “E-commerce is a new shining Star,” Dr. Kituyi added.

High-level representatives of the digital economy from governments, private sector, International organizations, civil society and youths will gather in Geneva on the 24-28 April for the UNCTAD E-commerce Week 2017 themed “Towards Inclusive E-Commerce”.

The week offers an opportunity to forge relationships, discuss priority areas, exchange successful ideas and define concrete actions towards more inclusive e-commerce and sustainable development.

The week comes at a crucial moment where many governments are analyzing the impact of the digital economy and e-commerce on global trade and will provide opportunities for further discussion on key challenges and opportunities.

“To make e-commerce a success in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we need to connect the dots. All stakeholders must join forces to unleash the potential of digitalization and provide the necessary support to those countries that are less equipped to face the digital transformation,” added Dr. Kituyi

While global trade growth has been stagnant for several years, e-commerce has been growing rapidly. Between 2013 and 2015, the value of online trade accelerated upwards, between 2013 and 2015, from USD 16 trillion to USD 22 trillion.

During the week high level executives will provide political perspectives on priority areas and define concrete actions towards more inclusive e-commerce and sustainable development.

The week will also host the first gathering of partners of “eTrade For All”, the global initiative, launched at UNCTAD 14 Ministerial Conference in Nairobi in July 2016 to channel effective assistance to developing countries wishing to engage in e-commerce.

The rest of the week will feature events that are co-organized with partner international organizations and the private sector focusing on specific policy areas of the eTrade For All initiative and will seek to identify forward-looking insights and concrete actions that can help developing countries engage in and benefit from e-commerce.

Special insights will be devoted to the readiness of the Least Developed Countries to engage in and benefit from e-commerce, the gender dimension, ICT infrastructure and services, trade facilitation, payment solutions and access to capital issues will also be discussed in depth, alongside the need to build SMEs and local actors’ skills.

Source: UNCTAD