Ecommerce is spreading quickly around the world, enabling countries to tap latent sources of growth: using ecommerce, companies can sell and buy goods and services with greater ease globally, while consumers access a wider variety of goods and services at lower cost.
Effectively reducing geographic distance which for centuries has curtailed visibility, trust, and trade between buyers and sellers located far apart, ecommerce enables particularly micro, small and mid-size companies to engage in trade. Opening people across the developing world new opportunities to mount their businesses and grow through exports, ecommerce is a powerful driver of economic growth and job-creation.
On 16-17 February 2016, I presented my concept Aid for eTrade, aimed at accelerating the ecommerce revolution in developing countries, at conference “Unlocking the Potential for Ecommerce in Developing Countries” I organized with the United Nations Economic Commission for Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The conference, held in Geneva, was joined by an interdisciplinary group of leaders from multilateral development banks, donor organizations, ecommerce and online payment platforms, trade finance providers, policymakers from developing economies, and international organizations.
Detailed in a 2014 policy paper I wrote and subject of a panel discussion in the Fifth Global Aid for Trade Review at the WTO in 2015, Aid for eTrade is purported as a mechanism for leading donors, in partnership with the private sector, to coordinate actions and pool capabilities and resources so as to accelerate the use of ecommerce ideveloping economies. The conference resulted in a call for action to launch the Aid for eTrade initiative, which will be discussed for an entire day among a high-level group of trade and development policymakers, chaired by a Nordic Ambassador to the WTO, during UNCTAD's ecommerce week in Geneva on 21 April.