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New UNCTAD initiative helps developing nations capitalize on US$22 tr e-commerce industry

A group of developed nations join together to fund a new initiative designed to help developing countries benefit from the rapidly growing US$22.1 trillion worth e-commerce industry.

UNCTAD announced the ambitious e-commerce plan at the International Conference Center in Nairobi on Monday. The initiative named “eTrade for All” brings together international organizations, donors and businesses to ease the access of assistance for developing countries and give donors more options for funding.

An e-commerce divide
Speaking ahead of the initiative’s launch at UNCTAD 14 , Mukhisa Kituyi, secretary general of UNCTAD, reinforced the necessity for developing countries to exploit e-commerce opportunities. With research data pointing to a 38% increase in how much the sector is worth compared to the same figure for 2013, developing nations can ill afford to ignore the industry less they risk further falling behind.

By providing new opportunities and new markets, online commerce can help generate economic opportunities, including jobs. But while as much as 81% of people shop online in the United Kingdom, developing countries like Bangladesh, Ghana and Indonesia currently hold a 2% or less of online shopping adoption rate.

“A huge divide is opening between countries that are exploiting those opportunities and those that are not,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi went on to say.

Program objective
The governments of the UK, Northern Ireland, Sweden, Finland and the Republic of Korea funded and designed the eTrade for All initiative to raise awareness of opportunities, challenges and potential solutions related to leveraging e-commerce. The initiative will mobilize and rationalize financial and human resources to implement projects, strengthen coherence and synergies among partners’ activities, and enhance aid efficiency.

UNCTAD has identified seven policy areas of focus which include e-commerce assessments, ICT infrastructure, payments, trade logistics, legal and regulatory frameworks, skills development and financing for e-commerce.

A new Private Sector Advisory Council will also support the developing countries who express an interest in boosting their online trade.

Kituyi concluded, “I am delighted by this collaboration with our partners, which finally gives the global community an effective platform for helping developing countries access and benefit from e-commerce”.

Tags: News, global e-commerce

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