This workshop explores the link between the Internet’s multistakeholder governance system and its ability to drive global trade and development; using the example of online marketplaces in the global South.
The Internet has become central to global trade, reshaping production, distribution and consumption patterns worldwide. The resulting markets are highly transparent and efficient with low barriers to entry but little attention has been given to how SMEs are utilizing online services to reach consumers in global markets despite the fact that they are one of the largest beneficiaries of the trade benefits of the Internet. Now, as a result of the instant global access that the Internet provides, SMEs are engaging in global trade at an unprecedented rate. This shift has profound implications for the future of trade and development. It does not matter how remote an SME is, if it has access to the Internet it has access to the global market.
This workshop will look at how the Internet’s multistakeholder model is changing the trade landscape and empowering both consumers on the one hand, and sellers and producers on the other, with a particular focus on SMEs. With more than half a billion people connecting to the Internet the first time by 2016, almost all of them in the global South, it is time to explore the impact of the networked economy on trade and development.