UNCTAD to foster digital economy in small island developing States

UNCTAD has launched a new project aimed at building the capacity of 38 Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Africa, the Caribbean and Asia and the Pacific to adopt trade policies that develop the digital economy and improve responses to crises.

Digital technologies and e-commerce have immense potential to support the participation of SIDS in international and regional markets. They can also help build resilience and promote stronger recovery from disasters.

But the digital economy is in its early stages of development in SIDS, whose common challenges to digital transformation include limited access to affordable infrastructure.

And the Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced pre-existing bottlenecks in the SIDS e-commerce ecosystem.

The project, managed by UNCTAD’s TrainForTrade programme, aims to develop the skills and knowledge of the representatives of the targeted SIDS with innovative approaches based on a recognized blended learning method and state-of-the-art technological solutions.

“This new project will build on the experience of our previous blended learning activities,” said the Director of UNCTAD’s Technology and Logistics Division, Shamika N. Sirimanne.

“We are proud to work together with our other UN partners to ensure that SIDS are better placed to harness the digital economy,” she added. The project has three training components focused on providing holistic support.

Its “legal aspects of e-commerce” component aims to build the capacity of legislators, government officials and other stakeholders involved in the development of e-commerce laws.

Adequate legal frameworks can facilitate the transition to a digital economy, reduce uncertainty, build trust and address potential harm. “An adequate legal framework and digital identity system is necessary to facilitate the adoption of e-commerce and the transition to a digital economy,” said the first secretary of the Permanent Mission of Barbados to the UN in Geneva. and former SIDS Group President, Shani Griffith Jack

The “Digital Identity for Trade and Development” component aims to increase knowledge on solutions for implementing e-commerce at the policy level and for small and medium-sized enterprises.

A secure and trusted digital identity system is essential to enable citizens to fully participate in their society and economy. The component will also cover the risks and challenges related to digital authentication.

The “digital economy statistics” component will deepen knowledge in this area and enrich the work of statisticians on data related to the digital economy. – UNCTAD

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