Harnessing Digital Trade for Competitiveness and Development
May 19, 2015Washington, DC

An entrepreneur in Serbia who opened an online portal for selling cattle. The Kenyan founder of an online crafts marketplace that works with artisans who have no bank accounts or computers. The CEO of a software services provider in Nepal. These are some of the speakers who will join this conference to discuss how the emerging phenomenon of digital trade can help developing countries, and how it has already succeeded in boosting the reach of small-scale entrepreneurs. An increasing number of producers in developing countries are selling their wares on the Internet, either through their own websites or through web portals such as eBay and Alibaba. This strategy dramatically reduces costs for small entrepreneurs. But firms in developing countries face significant impediments to fully exploiting the Internet for exporting – from infrastructure weaknesses to unreliable payments. This conference will bring together entrepreneurs, policy experts, and development practitioners to brainstorm ways that the World Bank Group and other stakeholders can work together to break down these barriers.

Conference participants will discuss policy-oriented and empirical work that illustrates the opportunities that digital trade is opening up for developing economies – particularly for SMEs. They will also address the remaining impediments to the use of digital trade in promoting economic growth in developing countries and boosting prosperity for the world's poorest.  The conference will address the following issues:

1.       Global trends in e-commerce and e-trade; data sources and methods.

2.       E-literacy: building economic capabilities at the firm and national level using digital technologies.

3.       Policy issues that affect the expansion of digital trade.

4.       The impact of logistics and trade facilitation on digital trade.

5.       Digital trade and trade agreements.

Digitizing livestock trading: an interview with Milos Milic
Our panelist Milos Milic, co-founder and CEO of Farmia in Serbia, answers a few questions on how a digital platform can
transform the way livestock is traded.

From Slums to Cocktail Parties - African Jewelry is Trending
Our panelist Catherine Mahugu is the founder of Shop Soko, a Kenyan startup, has used mobile technology to link local artisans
with global markets. This video goes behind the scenes of her company that distributes some of Africa's coolest fashion items
via Internet.


Registration and Continental Breakfast


Welcome – Anabel González, Senior Director, Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice, World Bank Group


Keynote: Michael Kende, Chief Economist, Internet Society


Global Trends in e-Commerce and e-Trade; Data Sources and Methods

Moderator: Michael Ferrantino, Lead Economist, Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice, World
Bank Group

  • Shawn Tan, World Bank Group, a member of the World Development Report 2016, “Internet
    for Development”
  • David Riker, U.S. International Trade Commission, lead economist for USITC’s Digital Trade studies




Strategies for Facilitating Digital Trade at the National and Firm Level

Moderator: Maja Andjelkovic, infoDev/Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice, or
Tim Kelly, Lead ICT Specialist, Transport & ICT Global Practice, World Bank  

  • Dr. Venancio Massingue, Founder and CEO of SIITRI, former Minister of Science and Technology
  • Catherine Mahugu, Founder, Shop Soko, Kenya
  • Milos Milic, Co-Founder and CEO, Farmia, Serbia


Lunch Break


The Enabling Environment for Digital Trade

Moderator: Kati Suominen, Adjunct Professor at UCLA Anderson School of Management,
Adjunct Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Founder & CEO of TradeUp, LLC, and Founder & CEO of Nextrade Group, LLC.

  • Bitange Ndemo, University of Nairobi Business School, former Permanent Secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Communication
  • Michael Minges,
  • Bibhusan Bista, CEO, Young Innovations, Nepal




Digital Trade and Trade Agreements

ModeratorUsman Ahmed, Policy Counsel, Public Policy Lab, eBay Inc.

  • Trade Governance in the Digital Age
    Thomas Cottier, Mira Burri, Anupam Chander, Christian Tietje, and Amy Porges, Cambridge University Press, 2012
  • Trade 2.0
    Anupam Chander, Yale Journal of International Law, 34 (2009): 281
  • Assessment of the impact of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) – empirical study of Kenya and Nigeria
    Michael Kende and Charles Hurpy, Internet Society (2012): 1-12
  • Lifting barriers to Internet development in Africa: suggestions for improving connectivity
    Robert Schumann and Michael Kende, Analysys Manson Limited, Report for the Internet Society (2013): 37
  • The Costs of Data Localisation: A Friendly Fire on Economic Recovery
    Matthias Bauer, Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, Erik van der Marel, and Bert Verschelde, ECIPE Occasional Paper, No. 3/2014
  • Future-Proofing World Trade in Technology: Turning the WTO IT Agreement (ITA) into the International Digital Economy Agreement (IDEA)
    Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, Aussenwirtschaft 66, no. 3 (2011): 279
  • Andreas Lendle and Marcelo Olarreaga, Inter-American Development Bank, 2014
  • eBay’s anatomy
    Marcelo Olarreaga, Andréas Lendle, Pierre-Louis Vezina, and Simon Schropp, Economics Letters 121 (2013): 115-120
  • There goes gravity: how eBay reduces trade costs
    Andreas Lendle, Marcelo Olarreaga, Simon Schropp, and Pierre-Louis Vézina, World Bank Working Paper WPS6253 (2012/10)
  • Digital Trade in the U.S. and Global Economies, Part 1
    Inv. No. 332-531, USITC publication 4415, July 2013
    PDF 4.52MB
  • Digital Trade in the U.S. and Global Economies, Part 2
    Inv. No. 332-540, USITC publication 4485, August 2014
    PDF 7.15MB
  • Tracking ICTs: world summit on the information society targets
    Michael Minges, Information and Communications for Development: Global Trends and Policies (2006): 125-146
  • Globalization 4.0
    By Kati Suominen
  • Aid for eTrade: Accelerating the Global eCommerce Revolution
    By Dr. Kati Suominen, Adjunct Fellow, CSIS Europe Program, November 2014
    PDF 922KB
  • Online Trade, Offline Rules: A Review of Barriers to e-commerce in the EU
    National Board of Trade, 2015
  • No Transfer, No Production – a Report on Cross-border Data Transfers, Global Value Chains, and the Production of Goods
    National Board of Trade, 2015
  • Information Economy Report 2015 - Unlocking the Potential of E-commerce for Developing Countries
    UNCTAD, 2015
  • 2015 US Small Business Global Growth Report
    eBay Public Policy Lab, 2015
    PDF 394KB
  • Regulating e-commerce through international policy: Understanding the international trade law issues of e-commerce
    Brian Bieron and Usman Ahmed, Journal of World Trade 46, no. 3 (2012): 545-570
  • Where: Room MC 13-121, The World Bank, 1818 H St. NW, Washington, DC
  • When: 8am - 5pm, May 19, 2015
  • WebEx meeting number: 730 216 801
  • WebEx password: JAgsmZ72