Netherlands commits $10 million for UNCTAD’s work on digital economy, business and investment facilitation

18 January 2023

The country’s ministry of foreign affairs, trade and development cooperation will provide the funds during the period 2023–2026

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The Netherlands will provide $10 million to UNCTAD to help developing countries benefit more from e-commerce and the digital economy and facilitate business and investment.

UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan and Liesje Schreinemacher, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, signed an agreement on 17 January for the financial contribution.

“We greatly appreciate the Netherlands’ increased support for our work on e-commerce and the digital economy, and business and investment facilitation,” Ms. Grynspan said.

She said the support underscores the growing importance of digitalization for inclusive and sustainable development in a time of multiple global crises.

Ms. Schreinemacher said: "The Netherlands appreciates UNCTAD’s contribution to global digitalization and linking it to improving business and investment opportunities. We are therefore happy to continue our support and hope other donors will follow the Netherlands in its support for this important programme".

UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan and Dutch Minister Liesje Schreinemacher
Ms. Grynspan and Ms. Schreinemacher at the signing ceremony in Davos, Switzerland.

Bridging digital and data divides

According to the agreement, $6 million will be dedicated to research and technical cooperation activities under UNCTAD’s e-commerce and digital economy programme.

The funds will support the integration of developing countries into the digital economy and enable the benefits of digitalization to reach all people and businesses.

While the COVID-19 pandemic revealed the growing importance of e-commerce, it also exposed digital and data divides between developing and developed countries. The funds will boost UNCTAD’s capacity to meet this growing demand for e-commerce and help bridge the divides.

The Netherlands’ long-standing support to the programme has contributed to building more gender-inclusive digital economies and fostering partnerships to support e-commerce development in low-income countries.

Its support for the eTrade for Women initiative has been instrumental in strengthening more than 200 women-led digital businesses.

Strengthening business and investment facilitation

A further $4 million will fund UNCTAD’s efforts to strengthen digital government services for micro- and small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and international investors.

It will also support enterprise development, accounting and reporting for MSMEs to strengthen business facilitation.

To boost investment, UNCTAD will use the funds to help strengthen facilitation mechanisms and institutions promoting both national and international investment policies.

The Netherlands’ support has so far strengthened digital business and investment facilitation in six countries in Africa and one each in Asia and Latin America.

It has supported the formalization of more than 400,000 MSMEs and contributed to key publications including UNCTAD’s SDG Investment Trends Monitor and its policy guide on foreign direct investment and gender equality.