eCommerce can be a very powerful weapon to encourage growth in less developed countries. This is the view of ten or so countries that have declared themselves to be “friends” of eCommerce on the occasion of eCommerce Week, organized by the UN Agency for Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
The idea is to promote regulations that create the conditions to ensure that eCommerce not only does not increase the gap between rich and poor countries, but contributes to reducing it. The countries that have signed up to this message are Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Kenya, Nigeria, Mexico, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Uruguay. These countries presented a roadmap which lays out measures like providing access to ICT infrastructures for inhabitants of rural areas so they can benefit from the advantages of the online channel and not be left behind.
The founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, also commented on this issue at the same event, when he advocated making Internet a public service, as occurred last century with electricity. “I believe the Internet should be treated as a utility and as the infrastructure of global development”. Ma claimed that helping small companies, farmers and women in this development would contribute to the creation of millions of jobs.
The Pakistani Minister of Trade and the Nigerian Minister of Industry also launched messages to promote the use of eCommerce as a tool for development. The latter said: “It can serve as a barrier against the negative effects created by globalization”.