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Digital Trade for Development Report

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • The Digital Trade for Development Report by IMF, World Bank, WTO, OECD, and UNCTAD explores the dynamics of digital trade, focusing on its impact on developing economies.
  • Digital trade encompasses online transactions involving goods and services, delivered either digitally or physically, and involves consumers, businesses, and governments.

Key Findings of the Report

  • The report highlights a remarkable growth trend in the value of digitally delivered services, showing almost a fourfold increase since 2005.
  • This growth, averaging 8.1% annually from 2005 to 2022, outpaces the growth rates of goods exports (5.6%) and other services exports (4.2%).
  • Digital trade emerges as a means to reduce barriers to market entry for developing economies, fostering economic participation.
  • One of the significant advantages is the direct access it provides to global markets, allowing entities to bypass traditional intermediaries like wholesalers and retailers.
  • Digital trade serves as a cost-effective platform, particularly beneficial for small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) looking to engage in international commerce.
  • The flexibility offered by digital trade models empowers women entrepreneurs, enabling them to overcome socio-cultural barriers and actively participate in economic activities.

Challenges in Digital Trade:

  • Approximately one-third of the global population, predominantly in low- and lower-middle-income economies, lacks online access, posing a digital divide challenge.
  • The report highlights the presence of high tariffs on imports of information and communication technology (ICT) equipment, hindering the growth of digital infrastructure.
  • Challenges related to cross-border data flows, competition, and consumer protection require careful consideration in the digital trade landscape.


  • Developing economies need increased international financial and technical support to enhance their digital trade capabilities, including infrastructure, skills, and regulatory frameworks.
  • Existing initiatives such as the WTO-led Aid for Trade, UNCTAD-led eTrade for All, and the World Bank-led Digital Advisory and Trade Assistance (DATA) Fund are recommended for providing necessary support.
  • Stressing the importance of global collaboration, the report emphasizes the need to ensure that diverse segments, including small businesses, women entrepreneurs, young businesspersons, and consumers globally, can harness the advantages of digital trade.

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