United Nations Launches eTrade for All, Ecommerce Initiative for Developing Countries


The United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD) wants developing countries to take advantage of the $22.1 trillion global ecommerce market by launching a new ecommerce initiative. Named eTrade for All, the program brings international organizations, donors, and businesses under one umbrella, easing developing country access to cutting-edge technical assistance and giving donors more options for funding.

By providing new opportunities and new markets, online commerce can help generate economic opportunities, including jobs. While more than 70% of people are shopping online in Denmark, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom, the case is not the same most developing countries.

In Bangladesh, Ghana and Indonesia, just 2% or less of the population buy online.

“A huge divide is opening between countries that are exploiting those opportunities and those that are not,” said UNCTAD Secretary General, Mukhisa Kituyi.

According to UNCTAD data, business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) ecommerce respectively valued at around $19.9 trillion and $2.2 trillion. This trade is mostly domestic, but is becoming more and more international.

The data also shows that ecommerce is growing rapidly, with emerging economies accounting for most of this growth. China is now the world’s largest B2C ecommerce market, both in terms of sales and in numbers of online shoppers. Brazil, India, the Republic of Korea, and the Russian Federation have also all moved into the top 10 ecommerce markets. Southeast Asia as a region even showed a promising potential as the third biggest market following China and India.

“This collaboration finally gives the global community an effective platform for helping developing countries access and benefit from ecommerce,” said Kituyi.

The eTrade for All initiative will support developing countries which express an interest in boosting their e-retail. Private sector will be strongly involved in the initiative through an advisory council. There will also financial contributions from the governments of the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, and the Republic of Korea.

The initiative will help developing countries in seven policy areas, including ecommerce assessments, information and communications technology infrastructure, payments, trade logistics, legal and regulatory frameworks, skills development and financing for ecommerce.

A version of this first appeared in GlobalTradeMag on July 27. Read the full article here.