Sweden scales up support for UNCTAD’s e-commerce and digital economy work

The country’s support has helped build knowledge, capacity and consensus on how to harness the digital economy for development.

Sweden has committed 10 million Swedish krona (approximately $1 million) for research, technical cooperation, and consensus-building activities under UNCTAD’s e-commerce and digital economy programme  in 2022 and 2023.

The contribution will boost UNCTAD’s capacity to support member states in building inclusive digital economies – a shared challenge made more urgent by the COVID-19 pandemic and growing digital and data divides.

“The digital transformation opens great opportunities for inclusive growth, jobs and sustainable development around the world,” said Krister Nilsson, state secretary to the Swedish minister for foreign trade and Nordic affairs.

“The post-pandemic recovery must include support for the participation of developing countries in the digital economy,” he added.

Making digitalization work for all

Supporting countries with the lowest levels of readiness to take advantage of the opportunities and mitigate the risks presented by digitalization helps make digitalization a force for a more resilient, equitable and sustainable world.

“We are proud to welcome Sweden among the core donors of the e-commerce and digital economy programme,” said Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD’s division on technology and logistics.

She also noted that Sweden’s accession to the programme’s advisory board of core donors follows member states’ decision to strengthen UNCTAD’s mandate to support developing countries in digitalization.

Ms. Sirimanne said this is a welcome recognition of the results of UNCTAD’s work in this area, which were highlighted by a recent independent evaluation.

The evaluation, covering 2019 to 2021, found that activities undertaken under the programme’s technical cooperation pillar, particularly the eTrade readiness assessments, help to boost the e-commerce and digital economy agenda within beneficiary countries.

Partnerships for development

Such partnerships and stakeholder engagement initiatives contribute to a more holistic and collaborative approach to e-commerce and the digital economy for development.

A long-standing partner of the programme, Sweden’s generous support to date has made possible a number of initiatives under the programme, including work on measuring e-commerce and the digital economyeTrade for alleTrade for Women and eTrade readiness assessments.

The advisory board, which also includes Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, meets once a year after the release of the programme’s Year in Review.

It allows members to share experiences and lessons learned from supporting digitalization for development efforts and outline priorities for future support.

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