Developing countries need to get more involved in e-commerce in order to benefit from the growing opportunities that the US$22.1 trillion market presents.

Business-to-business (B2B) commercial transactions account for US$19.9 trillion, while domestic and business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions account for US$2.2 trillion. increase in international trading picking up as well.

More than 70 percent of people in Denmark, Luxembourg and the UK shop online, compared to 2 percent of those in Ghana, Bangladesh and Indonesia.

China is the largest business-to-consumer e-commerce market, with Brazil, India and Russia all ranked in the top 10, well ahead of other developing countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), there is a huge divide that is opening between countries that are exploiting e-commerce and those that are not.

Kituyi added that by providing new opportunities and new markets, online commerce can help generate opportunities for developing countries to create jobs and diversify their economies.

Dr. Kituyi highlighted this during the launch of “eTrade for All”, an initiative by UNCTAD to help developing countries to increase their participation on the global online marketplace.

The initiative will focus on seven key policy areas which include e-commerce assessments, ICT Infrastructure, trade logistics, legal and regulatory frameworks, skill development, and financing of e-commerce initiatives.

eTrade for All's objectives include raising awareness of opportunities, challenges and potential solutions including the best practices related to leveraging e-commerce projects in developing countries. According to UNCTAD, the initiative will also strengthen coherence and synergies among partners’ activities with a view of avoiding duplication of work and enhancing aid efficiency as well as increased impact.

“e-Trade for all” will be implemented through a collaboration of UNCTAD and organizations such as the African Development Bank, World Bank and World Trade Organizations. The private sector too will be included with partners such as DHL, eBay, Google, PayPal and Grasshopper among others.

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