NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 19 – Developing countries have been urged to seize the rapidly growing opportunity of e-commerce, which is currently valued at US$22.1 trillion, failure to which they risk falling quickly behind.
Data submitted by UNCTAD shows that of the total worth, business-to-business (B2B) commercial transactions account for US$19.9 trillion while business-to-consumer (B2C) accounts for US$2.2trillion and is mostly domestic with international trading is picking up.
The data also shows that more than 70 percent of people in Denmark, Luxembourg and the UK shop online while just 2 percent of people in Ghana, Bangladesh and Indonesia shop online.
“China is the world’s largest B2C ecommerce market with Brazil, India and Russia included in the top 10,” UNCTAD says.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Secretary General Mukhisa Kituyi explained that there is a huge divide that is opening between countries that are exploiting those opportunities and those that are not.
Speaking during the launch a new ecommerce initiative dubbed ‘eTrade for all’ and initiated by UNCTAD, Kituyi added that by providing new opportunities and new markets, online commerce can help generate e-commerce opportunities for developing countries which include jobs.
The initiative is expected to help developing countries in seven policy areas which include e-commerce assessments, ICT infrastructure, trade logistics, legal and regulatory frameworks, skill development and financing e-commerce.
Its objectives include raising awareness of opportunities, challenges and potential solutions including the best practices related to leveraging e-commerce projects in developing countries. According to UNCTAD, the initiative will also strengthen coherence and synergies among partners’ activities with a view to avoiding duplication of work and enhancing aid efficiency as well as increased impact.
“In this way, the initiative will also support the December 2015 call by the United Nations General Assembly to better use ICT to facilitate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” Kituyi said.
The initiative will be implemented through collaboration of UNCTAD and organizations such as the African Development Bank, World Bank Group and the World Trade Organizations. It also includes private sector partners such as DHL, eBay, Google, PayPal and Grasshopper among other.