Myanmar to receive support from UNCTAD to develop its e-commerce strategy

09 December 2019

The Government of Myanmar recently launched an ambitious project funded by the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) to leverage e-commerce as a source of growth for its services sector and for transitioning to a more digital economy.

The project aims inter alia to improve the performance of Myanmar’s export-orientated services sectors in support of the diversification of the country’s export basket and to generate much-needed quality employment.

Myanmar is one of the pilot countries within the UNCTAD eTrade Readiness Assessment Programme to quick start the implementation of the recommendations contained in the eTrade Readiness assessment conducted by UNCTAD in 2018.

The e-commerce strategy was one of the key recommendations along with recommendations for enhancing the public-private dialogue on e-commerce, the development of key enabling regulations, resource mobilization with development partners and job creation in the digital economy and e-commerce sectors.

The e-commerce strategy will be developed under the aegis of the Digital Economy Roadmap prepared by the Digital Economy Development Committee (DEDC) which granted a specific mandate to the Ministry of Commerce as the lead agency for e-commerce development.

Ecommerce in Myanmar

In this context, UNCTAD has received funds to support the Government of Myanmar in developing a comprehensive e-commerce strategy which will transform the vision and strategic goals at the core of Myanmar’s Sustainable Development Plan 2018-2030 into a concrete roadmap proposing specific interventions for e-commerce development.

The e-commerce strategy will aim to give special emphasis on the development of local e-commerce solutions and on economic opportunities for under-served groups (youth and women). Activities conducted in the process of developing the e-commerce strategy will include research conducted by a team of international and national consultants, multi-stakeholder dialogues and consultations, and training of government officials.

The first stakeholder consultations will take place in Nay Pyi Taw from 11 to 13 December and in Yangon from 16 to 19 December 2019. They will include consultations with various ministries on vision and strategy, as well as on the legal and regulatory framework. Focused group discussions will address ICT infrastructure, trade facilitation and logistics, skills, and payments and access to finance.

The Government of Myanmar has been able to mobilize additional development partners such as the:

  • ITC, through the EU funded ARISE Plus Myanmar project, to support for domestic reform of the E-commerce regulatory and legislative framework to support SMEs participation in digital economy and to facilitate Myanmar MSMEs effective participation in the national e-commerce ecosystem and increased visibility in B2B and B2C marketplaces.

  • UNESCAP, through the EIF-funded, China-funded and RoK funded actions to assess and improve Myanmar’s technical and legal readiness in their participation in cross-border paperless trade.

  • Other initiatives include DFAT's E-commerce Aid for Trade Fund which aims to build productive capacity, support effective trade policy and regulation, or develop economic infrastructure in the e-commerce sector.

Eighteen eTrade Readiness Assessments were conducted in the past two years with the support of Germany, the EIF, ITFC and Sweden.

UNCTAD has been asked by donors and countries to monitor progress and has set up a tool to engage with countries and development partners, including eTrade for all partners, to implement the recommendations emerging from the eTReadies according to their priorities in view of the greater participation of developing countries, especially LDCs, in the digital economy.