WTO launches new e-Learning series on digital trade opportunities for developing economies

WTO launches new e-Learning series on digital trade opportunities for developing economies

The WTO has launched a new online series designed to improve the trade capacity of WTO members, particularly developing economies, in terms of harnessing the potential of digital technologies for sustainable trade. In a video message delivered at the launch ceremony on 11 April, Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala noted the unique ways that digital technologies can drive more efficient, inclusive and sustainable international trade.


The “Trade in the Digital Era” interactive training course is available from the WTO e-Learning platform, one of the key capacity-building programmes provided to WTO members and observers by the WTO’s Institute for Training and Technical  Cooperation.

“The move to digital trade gives developing economies opportunities to leap forward and some have done so with mobile payment and banking solutions,” said DG Okonjo-Iweala. “To do so, however, access to modern information and communication technologies is not enough. They require a deep understanding of the digital trade landscape, its opportunities, challenges, and the role of policies and trade rules.” Her full video message can be found here.

Designed for trade government officials, policymakers and the public at large, this new series provides essential tools and concepts for improving participants’ knowledge of digital trade. It will comprise a total of five courses, to be rolled out consecutively over the coming months. The first course gives a general overview of how the digital revolution is transforming trade, as well as the benefits and challenges of the digital economy.

Topics covered by the four other courses will include policy issues and WTO rules and discussions, the role of new technologies in international trade, especially artificial intelligence and blockchain, and provisions in members’ regional trade agreements that relate to trade and the digital economy.

Also speaking at the launch ceremony was WTO Deputy Director-General Xiangchen Zhang who stated: “During the 13th Ministerial Conference, many of you expressed concerns about the digital divide and the need to build developing economies’ capacities so that they may seize the benefits of digital trade. The WTO Secretariat is well aware of these challenges, which is why we have been stepping up our technical assistance activities related to digital trade to help bridge the digital trade gap between WTO members.”

Rwanda’s WTO Ambassador, James Ngango, said: “I sincerely hope that this capacity-building opportunity will attract many participants from across regions and contribute to further unlocking the potential of digital trade.”

Singapore’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the WTO, Hung Seng Tan, said: “Singapore recognises the critical importance of capacity-building and sharing of technical knowledge on digital trade for developing and least-developed country  members. Singapore is committed to continue working with partners, including the WTO, to deliver on the development dimension of digital trade.”

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