DiPLO´s Development Solution

Capacity Development and Training in Digital Commerce

Program in a Nutshell

Created in 2017

2 activities carried out​


  • Building Skills and Training
  • Capacity Building and Development


The programme is supported through a mix of self-funding from the implementing organisations and external donors.

Geographical scope​

Regional Economic Status

Partner : DiPLO

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Yes! I want to learn more about how this program could help my business, organization, country or region.


The Digital Commerce Course is a comprehensive training programme aimed at assisting governmental and non-governmental actors to better understand the implications that digitisation brings to trade discussions and to help them reap the benefits of the digital economy. The course is jointly offered by DiploFoundation, the International Trade Centre (ITC), CUTS International Geneva, and the Geneva Internet Platform (GIP). Course participants particularly benefit from:

  • The multidisciplinary knowledge of course partners and faculty, with extensive experience in the fields of international trade, digital policies, and internet governance.
  • A thematic approach that covers the increasing interplay between trade and digital policy issues.
  • Technical knowledge of aspects related to the functioning of the internet, without going into unnecessary detail, but focusing on what is important for current e-commerce policy discussions.
  • A cross-cutting emphasis on development, which highlights challenges and examples from developing countries and LDCs.
  • Access to fact-based and neutral
  • An innovative and highly interactive methodology, which allows them to immediately apply new knowledge in daily routines.
  • The just-in-time nature of the course. Discussions and analyses also cover breaking news and the most recent developments.

The programme is aimed particularly at participants from developing and least developed countries (LDCs). The objective is to increase knowledge and capacity to engage in multilateral e-commerce-related negotiations and discussions.

At the end of the course, the participants receive a Certificate of Completion. The average duration of the course is 6 weeks. Fees are applicable depending on the course, with a possibility to receive a scholarship.

  • Building Skills and Training

    • Helping practitioners and policymakers to:

        • Understand the global implications of digitalization in trade discussions;
        • Place e-commerce in the context of the digital economy;
        • Participate more meaningfully in e-commerce discussions and negotiations at the international, regional and national levels;
        • Learn how global e-commerce rules can facilitate development and leverage them for national benefits.

      The Digital Commerce course is based on Diplo’s interactive and collaborative online learning methodology, designed for professionals working in an international environment. This approach to capacity building goes beyond a typical training course in a number of ways. Since participants remain ‘on-the-job’ during the course, they can immediately apply their new knowledge in their daily routines. In addition, participants bring the challenges and issues they face at work to class discussions. Finally, the nature of interaction with the course faculty is quite intensive, with faculty members offering examples and guidance based on their own experiences, in an approach similar to mentoring.

      To provide further insight on some of the complex digital trade-related notions, DiploFoundation also offers complementary courses on Cybersecurity, Internet Technology and Policy: Challenges and Solutions, Introduction to Internet Governance. Discover more in the Courses Catalogue of Diplo-Foundation.

      To know more about DiploFoundation activities, news and events in the field of e-commerce, visit the dedicated e-commerce web page.

  • Capacity Building and Development

    • E-commerce negotiations increased in complexity. The digital trade agenda now encompasses both traditional trade topics (e.g., trade facilitation) and several digital policy issues. The syllabus and materials for the course were carefully designed to answer the pressing needs of digital commerce practitioners by exploring key issues in the e-commerce policy agenda, such as:

        • Cross-border data flows and data localisation
        • Open Internet access (network neutrality)
        • Online consumer protection and privacy
        • Unsolicited commercial electronic messages (spam)
        • Open government data
        • Customs duties on electronic transmissions
        • Cybersecurity
        • Access to the source code of computer programs

      Throughout the course, the underlying question under discussion is the impact of policies on development. The course provides support to enhance the involvement of developing countries and LDCs in trade discussions and negotiations, strengthening development-oriented priorities. The Digital Commerce course has filled a crucial gap in the e-commerce capacity-building landscape by providing policy-oriented support for government officials.

  • Key facts and figures of the Digital Commerce Programme since 2017

    • The Digital Commerce course was offered over five editions between 2017 and 2021. More than 300 applications were received from 98 countries across the globe. The demand was particularly strong in Africa and Asia.

      Throughout the years, the Digital Commerce course trained 138 individuals from 72 countries. The most represented regions among course participants were Africa (39%), Asia (29%), and Europe (14%).

      Geographical distribution of participants of the Digital Commerce course

      To know more about the course, read the publication Digital Commerce Course: a five-year assessment.

      To receive information about upcoming editions of the Digital Commerce course, please contact us.

Impact Stories
  • Digital Commerce course (2017-2021)

    • According to the respondents of a tracer survey conducted with former participants of the Digital Commerce course (2017-2021), the knowledge acquired through the course allowed them to participate more effectively in trade-related policy discussions and negotiations. According to participants, the course helped not only to expand their knowledge on e-commerce issues but also to boost their practical involvement and leadership in e-commerce policy discussions.

    • The course is extremely useful for negotiators involved in e-commerce discussions at the WTO as well as for policymakers and advisors.
      Edouard Bizumuremyi
      Commercial Counsellor, The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Rwanda in Geneva
    • The course has given me the opportunity to share our national experience and learn from other countries that are harnessing the power of the digital revolution for their development.
      Veronica Bogarin Closs
      First Secretary, Delegate from Paraguay to the WTO, Permanent Mission of Paraguay to the WTO

      Geneva (May 2021)

    • I found the course reading material and the peer learning methodologies that were used extremely enriching.
      Nadini Chami
      Senior Research Associate, IT for Change in special consultative status with the United Nations ECOSOC

      (November 2017)

    • The entire course has been knowledge enhancing. Being an entrepreneur, every aspect of what has been studied will be crucial to my business.
      Dorothy Wegoye Kimuli
      Founder & Managing director, D&M Group International Limited

      (December 2017)

    • For me as a diplomat covering e-commerce issues in the WTO, the course came just in time (...) The knowledge obtained during the course helped me to fill the basic knowledge gap and to be able to communicate on the same track with other more advanced colleagues.
      Array Kassabekova
      First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to the UNOG and other International Organizations in Geneva

      (March 2018)

ParliamentariansPolicy makersPoliticiansLegal professionalsCorporationsMSMEsSMEsResearchersTeachersExpertsDecision makers
  • International organizations

    • International Trade Centre (ITC)
  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

    • CUTS International, Geneva