unctad.org | Digital Economy for Development - A European Strategy
Digital Economy for Development - A European Strategy
16 April 2018
12:00 - 13:00, Room XVII
Geneva, Switzerland

Key Issues

Two and a half years after the launch of the European flagship initiative to boost the digital economy - the Digital Single Market Strategy, the European Commission was able to implement key elements of the strategy, such as the end of roaming, spectrum coordination and the implementation of the Marrakech Treaty. Citizens are benefiting from portability of content and will soon enjoy Internet connectivity in public spaces through the WiFi4EU initiative. Online sales will be eased by simpler and more efficient VAT rules for start-ups and SMEs, and the end of unjustified geo-blocking.
The European Union and its Member States cover 52% of the global development aid. However, this assistance was centred on traditional development sectors such as energy, agriculture, transport, health etc.
Last year, the European Commission has set the Digital 4 Development (D4D policy dedicated to mainstreaming digitalisation across the development policy and promoting the principles of the European Digital Single Market in developing countries. The D4D policy focuses on four main priorities: assuring affordable broadband connectivity, digital literacy and skills, promoting digital entrepreneurship and using digitalisation as an enabler in achieving the SDG’s by deploying e-Government, eCommerce, e-Health, e-Education, e-Agriculture or FinTech.
The European Commission is working closely with the African Union Commission in promoting the creation of an African Digital Single Market.  Digital economy was recognised as a priority by the EU and African heads of state and governments during the EU-Africa Summit held in Abidjan. In addition, European Commission has set a window for digital investments in the External Investment Plan valuing around 300 million euros on de-risking guaranties.
E-Commerce is an important element for using digitalisation to promote development because of its capacity to ensure market access to SMES’s and create economies of scale. On the African continent, a number of e-Commerce platforms have emerged and they are successfully filling up a market gap in delivering products and services and empowering local entrepreneurs. Jumia is such a platform with e-Commerce presence in 14 countries.
However, the competitiveness of such platforms is highly affected by poor infrastructure and lack of economy of scale due to fragmented cross-border markets. It is therefore key to develop a more comprehensive picture of the situation on the ground in order to better identify the opportunities and barriers for digital trade.
The aim of the debate is to discuss the developments of the digital economy in Africa and how to boost the cooperation between Europe and Africa to fully exploit the potential of digital technologies to achieve sustainable development goals.
Chair: H.E. Mr. Carl Hallergard, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to the United Nations in Geneva

Welcome remarks:
• Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General, UNCTAD

• Ms. Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner, Digital Economy and Society, European Commission
• H.E. Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy, ICT and Tourism, African Union Commission
• Mr. Jérémy Doutte, Co-CEO E-commerce, Jumia Group

Questions and answers, if time allows.
Co-organized with:European Union, UNCTAD
Language(s):English; English; French; Spanish; Chinese; Russian; Arabic;

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