DR Kituyi and Jack Ma Highlith E-Commerce Opportunities


Geneva, 26 April 2017 – « Over the past 20 years, we have witnessed the mistakes of celebrating opportunity without facing challenges. The phenomenal rise of e-commerce must be saved from a similar fate, » said Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi Secretary-General of UNCTAD during a high-level panel at E-commerce week held on April 25.

Distinguished speakers included Dr. Kituyi, Jack Ma (Founder and Chairman of AliBaba Group and UNCTAD Special Advisor for Young Entrepreneurs), Roberto Azevêdo (Director-General of World Trade Organization), Houlin Zhao (Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union) and Amanda Long (Director-General of Consumers International).
In front of an audience of over 800 attendees, the speakers discussed the topic, « Digital Transformation for All: Empowering Entrepreneurs and Small Business ».
« The appetite for digital economy can inspire the development of other infrastructure sectors, » said Dr. Kituyi, « e-commerce provides many opportunities for growth in the developing world but we need to seize those opportunities now, » he added.

Responding to comments from ministers, Jack Ma said « E-commerce is designed for the developing world. If you want to do it, you are ready. Don’t wait. »
Eight Ministers from Bhutan, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Nigeria, Pakistan and Thailand made interventions during the high-level discussion showing support for e-commerce. They also highlighted some of the on-the-ground issues faced by countries attempting to enable an environment for e-commerce development.
Moderated by award-winning BBC journalist Nancy Kacungira, the discussion covered topics ranging from job creation, e-commerce trade regulations, strategies for making e-commerce more inclusive, increasing digital infrastructure and more.

« We have two challenges at WTO on E-commerce. One is defining what E-commerce means for everyone and two is inclusivity in trade for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), » said Roberto Azevêdo of Director-General of World Trade Organization.

During the over-two hours of interactive conversation, the speakers suggested new ideas for leveraging e-commerce technologies and e-commerce solutions for sustainable development.
« I encourage increased investment in broadband to continue to improve infrastructure and connect the unconnected, » said Houlin Zhao the Secretary-General of ITU.

« We have the B20, but we need the B200, to create rules and laws to support the small guys, not control them » said Mr Ma.
The high-level panel discussion sets the tone for the rest of the E-commerce week’s discussions. E-commerce week runs from 24-28 April 2017 on the theme « Towards Inclusive E-Commerce ».