Development Challenges of COVID-19: What Role can E-commerce and Digital Trade Play?

2:00 pm
 – 3:30 pm
eTrade for all | UNCTAD

The COVID-19 pandemic dominated global economic development during 2020. Restrictions on movement and other interventions to preserve public health reduced economic activity in most sectors and countries, affecting production, distribution and consumption. The pandemic also accelerated digital transformations in unprecedented and unforeseen ways. Digital solutions helped people and businesses to continue some economic and social activities remotely.

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One result has been a surge in e-commerce, with long-term implications. While enabling more transactions – both business-to-business and business-to-consumer –it is also clear that many digital divides will need to be addressed in order to avoid widening inequalities.

Against this background, a group of eTrade for all partners joined forces to study the impact of COVID-19 on e-commerce and digital trade in various regions of the world; what barriers countries and business have faced when trying to leverage digital solutions; what policy responses have been taken; and – not least important – what we could do better to support countries that are the least equipped to manage digital transformations.

As a result of this collective effort, a global report and 4 regional reports have been prepared. This High-Level Policy Dialogue will unpack the major findings of these reports, learn about good practices implemented by governments and businesses in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and discuss possible policy efforts to be considered in the recovery phase.

The Dialogue will recall the growing relevance of the eTrade for all initiative, which has emerged as a trusted source of information, contacts and resources for developing countries through its digital hub and to catalyze partnership among its partners.

The event will consider how governments, businesses, consumers, and the development community at large, can come together to ensure that e-commerce plays a positive and powerful role in national and global recovery efforts. How can scarce resources be best used to enhance the digital readiness of countries and to put digitalization at the heart of development.

This event is hosted online and is open to the public.

Sponsor / funding:
The eTrade for all initiative benefits from financial support of the Netherlands, Germany and Estonia. The production of the COVID-19 global report also benefitted from support of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS).