COVID-19 and e-commerce: a global review
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the United Nations Regional Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean have published a report entitled, “COVID-19 and e-commerce: a global review”.
The report notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformations, with e-commerce digital solutions increasing globally. However, while witnessing a similar growth of e-commerce in the developing world, existing digital divides are likely to result in even greater inequalities.
The report acknowledges the impact of COVID-19 globally, for example, it states, ‘The COVID-19 pandemic has dominated global economic development during 2020. Restrictions on movement and other interventions to protect public health have reduced economic activity in most sectors and most countries, affecting production, distribution and consumption, with greater impact in countries that were less well prepared to deal with crisis’.
Key findings on the impact of the COVID-19 on e-commerce
The following diagram summarizes the key findings on the impact of the COVID-19 on e-commerce:-
Main recommendations of the report
The reports notes that since the outbreak of the pandemic, more than 30 e-Trade for all partners have been working together to raise awareness and identify ways in which businesses in developing and least developed countries could overcome these challenges.
Priority Action for Governments
- Systematic DATA GATHERING and evaluation of the impact of policies and business practices,
- Identification of CRITICAL GAPS that require intervention,
- Establishing/developing STRATEGIES FOR E-COMMERCE that are integrated into broader national development,
- Fostering MULTI-STAKEHOLDER DIALOGUE and strengthening the INTER-MINISTERIAL DIALOGUE for effective coordination,
- Facilitating PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS to build awareness and trust in e-commerce among both merchants andconsumers.
Recommendation for the Private Sector
Business entities in developing countries need to be better equiped to participate in the digital economy. The following recommendations are noted for the private sector:-
- Faster digitalization for smaller businesses
- Better capabilities to capture and harness data
- More attention to digital entrepreneurship (including reskilling)
- Stronger regulatory frameworks for creating and capturing value in the digital economy
- Needs to find new, bold and smart ways to work with governments and the private sector to leverage these opportunities.