Policy Dialogue : Building strong digital ecosystems – Perspectives from the Balkans

11:40 am
 – 12:40 pm
North Macedonia
eTrade for all | UNCTAD

The Balkan region has experienced a steady growth of its digital sector over recent years. Many micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) have started adopting business models based on digital technologies, contributing to the emergence of a vibrant digital ecosystem across the region.

Many women entrepreneurs who are running digital businesses are playing a key role in the digital transformation of the Balkans’ economies. Yet, along with the common challenges encountered by MSMEs in the digital/tech sector, women have to overcome many barriers. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has boosted digitalization, has also exacerbated the need to address gender issues in the digital economy. The capacity of governments and the donor community to support an inclusive expansion of entrepreneurship in the digital economy, including for women, will be critical to unlock the full potential of digitalization and lead to deeper regional integration and sustainable recovery post-COVID-19.

In this session, representatives from major donor institutions, policy-makers and top digital entrepreneurs from the Blakans will confront their perspectives and discuss the following issues:

  • How does e-commerce and more broadly the digital economy look like in the Balkans? What has been the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector?
  • What are some of the key obstacles faced by MSMEs in the region – especially women-led businesses in the digital sector?
  • How can governments and the international community support more inclusive digital ecosystems in the Balkans?
  • How can the private sector help leverage the potential of e-commerce and digital trade to generate jobs and positive spill-overs?
  • How are initiatives such as  eTrade for Women contributing to raising the profile and skills of women digital entrepreneurs?

This event is part of the second  eTrade for Women Masterclass for the Balkans: “Supporting Women Entrepreneurs Through their Digital Journey”, organized by UNCTAD in partnership with the Macedonian E-commerce Association and eTrade for all on 30 June – 1 July 2021.

Click here to attend this event.