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Australia commits $3 million for UNCTAD’s work on e-commerce and the digital economy

08 December 2023

The funds will enhance the organization’s technical cooperation, capacity-building and multistakeholder coordination, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.

© Shutterstock/Ahmad Saifulloh | A bamboo craft seller offers a QR code-based payment option in Kediri, Indonesia.

Australia has committed AUD$3 (approximately US$2) million to bolster UNCTAD’s work on e-commerce and the digital economy in developing countries.

The funds, earmarked for the 2023-2026 period, will enhance the organization’s technical cooperation, capacity-building and multistakeholder coordination, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.

The agreement, signed in November 2023, strengthens the UNCTAD-Australia partnership, building on the work done together for the Pacific Digital Economy Programme.

Key results of the programme’s initial phase implemented over the past three years with the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the UN Development Programme, include Solomon Islands’ National E-Commerce Strategy and the Digital Economy Report: Pacific Edition 2022.

Australia’s ambassador to the World Trade Organization, George Mina, highlighted that Australia was looking forward to working with UNCTAD in this new agreement to support the work of developing countries in the Indo-Pacific region to connect and do business with the rest of the world.

"UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan and Australian Ambassador George Mina"
Australian Ambassador George Mina (left) and UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan on 8 December at eWeek 2023.

Supporting Asian developing countries and women entrepreneurs

The new funding will boost UNCTAD’s work on eTrade Readiness Assessments and e-commerce strategies and their implementation. It will also help boost the participation of stakeholders from Asian developing countries in  UNCTAD eWeeks. The 2023 edition, “Shaping the future of the digital economy”, took place from 4 to 8 December.

Furthermore, Australia’s new financial contribution will help expand and strengthen UNCTAD’s eTrade for Women initiative in South and Southeast Asia. Research by the International Finance Corporation on women and e-commerce in Southeast Asia shows that the region’s e-commerce market could grow by US$280 billion by 2030 if women’s e-commerce sales reach those of men.

The financial support is part of a joint funding arrangement with the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework Economic Cooperation programme.

Australia becomes the fifth core donor of UNCTAD’s work on e-commerce and the digital economy, joining Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland.

The work will benefit from close cooperation with eTrade for all partners.