In March 2022, the international community adopted the Doha Programme of Action for LDCs for the decade 2022-2031. Trade is one of the DPoA’s six pillars. In January 2023, the WTO Secretariat and UN-OHRLLS, in cooperation with the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) and UN Regional Economic Commissions, organized two regional consultations on trade elements of the DPoA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (17-18 January) and Siem Reap, Cambodia (30-31 January).
The regional consultations brought together nearly 100 senior trade officials from over 40 LDCs to exchange views on trade elements of the DPoA and evolving LDC priorities for the next decade. The discussions were structured around the DPoA’s trade targets, covering the topics of regional economic integration, digital trade, and trade support for LDCs. Options for ensuring smooth transitions from the LDC category were also discussed.
Digital trade offers more opportunities than challenges to least-developed countries (LDCs), including for their small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups. This paper outlines some steps LDCs can take to tap those opportunities. It also describes how international cooperation can help LDCs foster regulatory regimes and practices that support their companies’ digital trade ambitions.
E-commerce is here to stay. When the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) first got involved in the UNCTAD eTrade Readiness Assessment for Samoa in 2017, we did not envisage that e-commerce would become so ubiquitous, so fast. Five years and a global pandemic later, economies are increasingly relying on digital commerce and the data economy. It is an incredible leap for innovation and connectivity. But with every great, fast leap forward, we need to look around to make sure we leave no one behind.