E-Trade for All: Consultations on a draft call for action

21 April 2016
Room XXIII of the Palais des Nations
, Switzerland

E-Trade for All
Unlocking the potential of e-commerce in developing countries


E-Commerce Week 2016

E-commerce can become a powerful driver of economic growth, inclusive trade and job creation across the developing world. While some developing countries have made significant inroads into e-commerce, most are still lagging behind.

As mentioned in the UNCTAD Information Economy Report 2015, the extent to which people purchase goods and services online varies considerably among countries, ranging from less than 2 per cent of people in some middle-income countries to more than 70 per cent in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Smaller businesses also trail larger enterprises in taking advantage of the Internet for e-commerce, hampering their ability to reach new customers in domestic and foreign markets.

While numerous development partners, foundations, and private sector players are working from different angles to unlock the power of the Internet for economic development, current efforts are seldom holistic or systematically focused on building e-commerce economies.

Against this backdrop, UNCTAD is taking the lead in exploring possibilities for launching a new global initiative called E-Trade for All, aimed at unlocking the potential of e-commerce in developing countries.

To launch the initiative, a draft call for action has been prepared by representatives of Governments, international organizations and private sector enterprises involved in e-commerce.


E-Trade for All in brief

E-Trade for All is intended to be a multi-stakeholder initiative to improve the ability of developing countries and countries with economies in transition to use and benefit from e-commerce. It will be a demand-driven mechanism in which leading development partners cooperate with the private sector to pool capabilities and resources.

The goals of the initiative are as follows:

  • To raise awareness of opportunities and challenges related to leveraging e-commerce.

  • To mobilize and rationalize financial and human resources to implement e-commerce projects in developing countries.

  • To strengthen coherence and synergies among partners' activities with a view to avoiding duplication of work and enhancing aid efficiency.

UNCTAD invites all stakeholders to review the draft call for action and contribute their experiences, views and priorities concerning the Aid for eTrade initiative. Written comments are welcome and should be sent to no later than 10 April 2016.

Contributions will be made available online in the language in which they are received, unless contributors have specifically requested that they should not be published.

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