Okonjo-Iweala calls for the adoption of e-commerce to grow the economy and create jobs The Guardian Nigeria News

The Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday said the international community has a collective responsibility to ensure that members harness the full potential of the digital economy for economic growth, job creation and trade diversification.

He said this at a workshop held under the Work Program on E-Commerce in continuation of the 12th Ministerial Conference’s decision to revitalize the programme, particularly its development dimension.

The workshop provided an opportunity for WTO members, including Nigeria, to exchange views with international organizations on cross-cutting issues under the work program identified by members in the past few months.

In particular, the workshop explored international work on consumer protection, digital divide, prohibition of customs duties on electronic transactions and legal/regulatory frameworks on e-commerce.

Okonjo-Iweala said members are significantly engaged in broader e-commerce-related issues with a focus on development, and it is important to better understand the challenges and opportunities of digital commerce.

Noting the dramatic growth of services delivered across borders via digital networks, global exports of digitally delivered services are projected to grow by 8.1 percent annually between 2005 and 2022, outstripping the 5.6 percent growth recorded in exports of goods.

Highlighting the role of e-commerce in promoting growth and trade and creating employment opportunities for women and youth, she stressed that development-related challenges hinder members from reaping the full benefits of digital commerce.

„Many countries are still lagging behind due to poor connectivity, outdated physical and digital infrastructure, inadequate digital financial services, deficiencies in digital literacy and skills, weak legal and regulatory frameworks or a combination of these factors,” he revealed.

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Chairman, General Council, WTO, Amb. Athaliah Lesiba Molokomme, Members noted the need to improve cooperation with other intergovernmental organizations.

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