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 $16 trillion to $22 trillion.
"As the digital economy expands and more business activities are affected, it becomes more important for governments to consider policies that can help to harness e-commerce for sustainable development,” said Dr. Kituyi, specifying that governments need to improve areas including information and communications technology infrastructure, the legal and regulatory environment, and develop skills in their populations.
Discussions during the UNCTAD E-Commerce Week will provide political perspectives on priority areas and define concrete actions towards more inclusive e-commerce and sustainable development.
The week will host a high level event themed "Digital Transformation for All: Empowering Entrepreneurs and Small Business" featuring key representatives of Governments, International organizations, private sector, and among other as well as 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. Its second phase will commence with the unveiling of its online platform on 25 April.
The rest of the week will feature events that are co-organized with partner international organizations and the private sector. These sessions will focus 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 LDCs' readiness in engaging in e-commerce and the role of gender in e-trade. ICT infrastructure and services, trade facilitation, payment solutions and access to capital issues will be discussed in depth, alongside the need to build SMEs and local actors' skills.