UNCTAD has launched a new project for countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which aims to build the capacity of policymakers for harmonization of e-commerce laws in the region - particularly in the area of e-transactions, cybercrime and data protection.
As part of the project, UNCTAD's TrainForTrade Programme, working in cooperation with the E-Commerce and Law Reform Programme, is delivering a distance-learning course on the legal aspects of e-commerce to 220 participants from eleven ECOWAS countries in West Africa, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.
Participants of the distance-learning course, Togo
The training course is being conducted in English and French, from UNCTAD headquarters in Geneva, via the TrainForTrade distance-learning platform, from 7 October to 8 November 2013. The course covers the following issues:
- Regulating e-commerce
- The legal validity of electronic communications
- Consumer protection
- Protecting intellectual property assets
- Content regulation
- Taxing e-commerce
- Privacy online
- Securing e-commerce
Following delivery of the first module, the participants commented on the usefulness of the training course and the need to harmonize e-commerce laws across the region. They also appreciated the opportunity to exchange knowledge and experience via the TrainForTrade online discussion forum. The training course is to be followed by face-to-face courses taking place in 2014.
The African Union Commission, the International Telecommunication Union, and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law are partners in the implementation of this new project.
Both TrainForTrade and the E-Commerce and Law Reform Programme are housed in UNCTAD's Division on Technology and Logistics. TrainForTrade is a programme run by the Human Resources Development Section, in the Knowledge Sharing, Training and Capacity Development Branch. The E-Commerce and Law Reform Programme is part of the ICT Analysis Section, in the Science, Technology and ICT Branch, and is supported by the Government of Finland.