WEF´s Development Solution

Digital Trade Programme

Program in a Nutshell

Created in 2021

8 activities carried out


  • Policy Advice, Support and Formulation
  • Research, Reports and Evaluations

Geographical scope

Regional Economic Status

Partner : WEF

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The World Economic Forum Digital Trade Project brings together high-profile businesses, experts, civil society, and government actors on digital trade priorities.

The programme operates on these fronts:

  • Accelerate e-commerce trade preparedness to benefit small businesses and developing economies
  • Build interoperability for global data flows, including through trade frameworks and regulatory cooperation, and explore the effects and requirements of rapidly expanding digital trade in services
  • Promote interoperability, design policies to improve access, and address frictions and regulatory gaps associated with digital payment for trade and commerce
  • Lead and design new policy frameworks for cross-border digital services in the digital age, from remote work to digital taxation
  • Map new trade technologies – including cloud services, DLT and 3D printing – and driving discussion on policies to balance gains versus risks
  • Policy Advice, Support and Formulation


      The World Economic Forum convenes public-private dialogue on best practices and solutions for e-commerce challenges. Through a series of workshops and other events, the Forum curates discussion on where targeted interventions may be needed in national, regional, or international settings to ensure global e-commerce drives inclusive growth – particularly for small businesses.

  • Research, Reports and Evaluations


      The World Economic Forum is publishing a series of scoping papers on challenges facing digital trade. These set a baseline for public-private dialogue on potential solutions.

      • Defining and measuring payments interoperability: this paper provides quantitative measurement metrics to help policymakers understand the bottleneck of their payments systems and to provide a framework to foster dialogue and collaboration between public and private sectors.
      • Payments to Advance Growth for All: challenges and opportunities: this paper will summarize a series of workshops and interviews focusing on identifying challenges facing Latin America and the Caribbean in adopting digital payments for trade and commerce and proposes actionable recommendations for public and private and private and private collaborations. Community insights are being collected through a series of workshops and bilateral interviews taking place at the moment. The final paper will be published in Q2 2022.
      • Digital trade in services: Working with trade and tax experts, the Forum explored the intersection between new taxation trends and digital trade in services. This community paper is an initial attempt to understand the incidence and effects of digital services tax, especially on trade, investment and competition. Regarding trade in services, we are currently exploring how to support with the implementation of the service’s domestic regulation agreement.
      • TradeTech and trade policy: together with the World Trade Organization, the Forum is convening trade and technology experts to understand what are the new policy frontiers that need to be tapped in order to bring trade to a new speed. Insights will be summarized in a paper to be published in Q1 2022. The paper will explore five building blocks for further TradeTech adoption: Global Data Transmission and liability frameworks; Global legal recognition of e-transactions and documents.
  • Digital ASEAN

    • The World Economic Forum Regional Steering Group supports public-private initiatives that accelerate the region’s digital economy integration and global growth. Five working groups identified concrete actions in the areas of cybersecurity; cross-border data flows; enabling e-commerce and e-payments; digital access; and digital human capital. The working groups provided recommendations to ASEAN Secretariat’s COVID recovery plan.

  • Payments to Advance Growth for All (PAGA)

    • In November 2021, IDB Lab, the innovation laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank, and the World Economic Forum launch the Payments to Advance Growth for All (PAGA) program to unlock the true potential of digital payments in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). This initiative will bring together the public and private sectors, promoting practical recommendations for greater adoption of digital payments in the LAC region.

Impact Stories
  • Papua New Guinea

    • In support of Papua New Guinea’s agenda to develop an inclusive digital future, the World Economic Forum launched Facilitation 2.0, a novel initiative piloted in Papua New Guinea with the support of the Government of Australia. The initiative aimed to advance practical, business-driven reforms at the intersection of trade facilitation, investment, and e-commerce, blending local experience with international expertise. The initiative has helped to advance an electronic-transactions act, provided concrete recommendations to digital payments regulation reform, and created a public-private group on digital foreign direct investment.


    • In support of ASEAN Secretariat’s agenda to develop a regionally integrated and inclusive digital economy, the World Economic Forum gathered together senior leaders from public and private sectors to form an e-Payments Coalition and proposed a set of recommendations. The Coalition will continue to help ASEAN Secretariat in achieving its goal, in particular with respect to COVID recovery.

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