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ITC champions SME e-commerce at UNCTAD E-commerce week- 2019

  • UNCTAD’s E-commerce week themed “From Digitalization to Development” was held in Geneva, Switzerland during 1-5 April 2019. The event provided an important platform where high-level government representatives, businesses, academics, civil society and development banks met to discuss the challenges and the opportunities associated with the evolving digital economy. The 2019 edition addressed the need to overcome obstacles - among institutions, government and policy areas - for an effective contribution of e-commerce towards sustainable development.
    International Trade Centre (ITC), as an active player in technical assistance on e-commerce for SMEs in developing countries, hosted four sessions at the E-commerce week to champion for SME participation in global e-commerce.

    Technology, Data and Global Trade: New Pathways of Development
    International Trade Centre (ITC) and Huawei Technologies
    Monday 1 April, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM, Room XXVI
    This joint session examined the impact of digital transformation on future trade and investment, as well as explored the shape of global standards in the digital age. Experts from private sectors, governments, academia and international organizations shared their views on issues such as how will new technological innovations such as blockchain, AI, 5G, IoT, robotics and additive manufacturing impact future trade? What can be done to ensure inclusiveness in future trade? and how to build an international policy environment conducive for SME participation in digital trade. The session addressed the need to accompany the fast the pace of technology with regulatory frameworks that are forward-looking and that could facilitate inclusiveness in the e-commerce market.

    Monetizing Big Data in Africa
    International Trade Centre (ITC)
    Wednesday 3 April, 1:15 PM - 2:45 PM, Room XXI
    The session reviewed current and future opportunities specific to Africa, and the current developments in unleashing the potential of Big Data in the continent. Experts examined the current situation of data infrastructure in Africa and its outlook in the next five years. The panelists also discussed issues concerning regulatory frameworks, data management and data security, as well as the monetization of data, highlighting innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa. Key takeaways of the session include: first, connectivity is the first issue to tackle, and potential of big data will not be fully realized without connected infrastructure; Second, regional data centres with harmonised regulations across nations is a realistic way forward; Third, technical assistance programs that focus on education, empowerment is a soft supplement to the hard infrastructure.

    Collaborating for Success in e-Commerce: How Jointly Managed Services Can Enable Small and Medium Sized Enterprises to Conduct International E-commerce
    International Trade Centre (ITC)
    Wednesday 3 April, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM, Room XXI
    In this session, experts from Africa, America, Asia and Europe discussed how MSMEs are able to tackle e-commerce barriers including transportation, logistics or payments by joining forces with other companies. The session opened with an introduction on how collaborative partnerships in business are key to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) competitiveness in e-commerce. Experts acknowledged the advantage for MSMEs of using marketplaces, but also highlighted the bottlenecks associated with marketplaces, such as difficulties in finance, VAT registration and marketplace registration. Overall, the panelists agreed on the necessity of collaborating and sharing resources to overcome e-commerce barriers in all aspects of trade: logistics, fiscal and legal management, payments and promotion.

    Industry Dialogue on Trade Facilitation for E-commerce Development
    China Electronics Chamber of Commerce (CECC) in collaboration with International Trade Centre (ITC)
    Wednesday 3 April, 09:00-17:30, Room XXIV
    This joint session discussed new models for global trade development and innovation and the increasing importance of effective trade facilitation in the context of evolving cross-border e-commerce. The panelists from governments, associations and colleges shared their experience on how the e-commerce contributed to the development objective of creating job opportunities in digital age. Entrepreneurs from related industries presented their views on how policies and technical assistance can be improved to help SMEs better engage in e-commerce. This ‘dialogue’ strengthened the interaction among global cross-border e-commerce associations, SMEs, policy makers and international development organizations.