Trust and Trade Across Borders Shaping Future International E-commerce from Developing Countries

20 December 2017 - A Workshop on Other in Geneva, Switzerland


Proposer's Name: Mr. James Howe
Proposer's Organization: International Trade Centre

Mr. James HOWE, Senior Adviser, International Trade Centre

Session Format: Panel - 90 Min

Country: Switzerland
Stakeholder Group: Intergovernmental Organizations

Content of the Session:

The 90 minute panel discussion will consider how technical, legal and social factors are interconnected in building trust for online trade - and the specificities of this challenge for developing countries. We will review the barriers to adoption of e-commerce and how insufficient trust is a significant barrier in both developed and developing countries.

Recommendations will be made for how greater trust can be achieved at the national and international level for small businesses operating out of developing countries.

Panelists will present complementary perspectives on the challenges, opportunities and potential solutions in five short opening presentations. This will be followed by a debate which will address questions from the attending public and selected questions received from online participants.

Relevance of the Session:
Building trust is perhaps the key barrier for small business to conduct international trade. This is not a new problem - trade has always involved trust - but in the digital age there is an acute issue with respect to enabling access to e-commerce in developing countries. Small firms in poor countries wish to "shape their digital future" in trade but are prevented from doing so by barriers to trust among customers in developed countries, even where these countries have in place consumer protection and secure transaction technologies. 

Tag 1: Confidence Building Measures
Tag 2: Capacity Building
Tag 3: e-commerce

Mr. James HOWE, Senior Adviser, International Trade Centre, Switzerland
Will set the scene with findings from the field relating to the challenges for SMEs in developing countries to get online and build trust

Madame Korotoum DIABATE – Secrétaire Général – La Poste de Côte d’Ivoire,
Will share with the audience her vision of Trust on the Internet, and roles that Posts play on the tangible and intangible benefits and psychology of trust.
Based on her previous experience and background within the National regulator and her legal background, she will explore synergies between the mode of governance of the Internet and Postal regulations, the role of post in the Internet eco-system and Post as key player for the Internet infrastructure in developing countries. To illustrate that, she will explain the e-Commerce strategy of La Poste de Cote d’Ivoire and the concrete deliverable with the project online now

Maria Umoren - Alumnus of Judge School of Management (and formerly Relationship Manager at Zenith Bank in Nigeria) will present the issues of trust as experience in Africa

Onsite Moderator: James Howe
Online Moderator: Judith Ueberschaer
Rapporteur: Sibylle Neuhaus

Online Participation:
Online participation will be through a platform to be agreed with the IGF organisers (ITC has WEBEX access if necessary), and will be moderated by Judith Ueberschaer. A summary of key questions will be shared with the moderator to pose to the panel and for reaction from the floor and online during the interactive part of the session.

Conducted a Workshop in IGF before?: No
Link to Report: 
Additional Speakers: 

  • Hanne Melin Olbe, Director Global Public Policy, eBay
  • Adam Schlosser, Project Lead, Digital Trade and Data Flows, World Economic Forum

Agenda:  Setting the scene: James Howe, Senior Adviser, ITC (7 minutes)

  • What are the barriers to trade across borders as perceived by SMEs from developing countries?
  • In what way does trust impact the ability to trade through e-commerce channels?
  • How is ITC working to reduce these barriers and build trust?

Adam Schlosser, Project Lead, Digital Trade and Data Flows, World Economic Forum (7 Minutes)

  • Impact of new technology on driving trade 
  • Concerns around data protection 
  • Roles of regulators 

Maria Umoren, Alumnus of Judge School of Management (former Relationship Manager, Zenith Bank, Nigeria. 7 minutes)

  • What are the particular barriers to trust in the usage of e-commerce that are experienced in Nigeria and Africa in general?
  • What local solutions have been found to address trust of consumers for e-commerce?
  • What can be done to reduce barriers of trust for producers from developing and least developed countries in general?

Mme. Korotoum DIABATE, Secétaire Général - Las Poste de Côte d'Ivoire, (en français)

  • Roles that Postal Services play in generating trust for e-commerce
  • Case study: La Poste de Côte d'Ivoire

Hanne Melin Olbe, Director Global Public Policy, eBay (7 minutes)

  • Lessons from the history of ebay: building trust online and across borders
  • New opportunities and trends in building trust online and across borders