Member States of the Economic Community of West African States: eTrade readiness assessment

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Press release

The report of the regional assessment on eTrade readiness of Member States of ECOWAS high-lights the prerequisites for the growth and development of e-commerce within and between member states.

The Regional E-commerce Strategy Development Project was launched in October 2021, by the ECOWAS Commission and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) with funding from the government of the Netherlands. The project aims to provide a roadmap for e-commerce development that leads to the use of technology to acceler-ate structural change and development, and foster regional integration, including through economic diversification, job creation and more inclusive trade activities within the ECOWAS region.

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As a precursor to the Strategy, UNCTAD conducted an eTrade Readiness Assessment of Mem-ber States of ECOWAS (ECOWAS eTrade Ready). The ECOWAS eTrade Ready followed UNCTADs eTrade Ready methodology which is designed to identify e-commerce development challenges in developing countries, especially least developing countries. It assesses the state of e-commerce preparedness in countries or regions based on seven (7) policy areas namely: i) e-commerce readiness and strategy formulation ii) ICT infrastructure and services iii) trade facili-tation and logistics iv) legal and regulatory framework v) payment solutions vi) skills develop-ment and vii) access to finance.

The ECOWAS eTrade ready report notes that most Member States have placed digitalization at the centre of their efforts towards economic growth, and for this, have adopted and are im-plementing strategies and policies to convert this ambition into results. Unfortunately, there remains a need for deliberate action to extend this digitalization effort and channel it into trade-driving activities that are supportive of e-commerce. The report highlights the need to:

o          Strengthen Trade ministries in ECOWAS Member States on e-commerce development,

o          Enhance trust within the e-commerce ecosystem within and between Member states,

o          Improve monitoring of the e-commerce market, and

o          Foster inclusion.

o          The final report is available in all ECOWAS languages here:

o          Member States of the Economic Community of West African States: eTrade Readiness Assess-ment: https://unctad.org/…/member-states-economic-community…

About the Regional E-commerce Strategy Development Project in ECOWAS

Following a request by the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 2020, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is providing support for the development of a Regional E-commerce Strategy for ECOWAS thanks to the support of the Government of the Netherlands. The E-commerce Strategy Development project developed in cooperation with the ECOWAS Commission has the objective to assist it in its efforts to use technology to accelerate structural change and development, and foster re-gional integration, including through economic diversification, job creation and more inclu-sive trade.