The workshop forms part of a broader OECS project which is being funded by the Commonwealth Secretariat to assess Digital Trade and eCommerce readiness in six Member States of the OECS. The project is assessing six pillars of e-commerce readiness namely citizens’ readiness; business readiness; information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and accessibility; logistics and delivery; policy and regulations; and the financial and banking eco-system to support e-commerce.
The workshop will bring together stakeholders in the public and private sectors to further assess the identified six pillars of e-commerce readiness. Stakeholder input is expected to enhance insights into the existing e-commerce infrastructure and help identify legal and regulatory gaps that may impede the growth of OECS digital trade and access to external markets.
The strategic objective that the Commission aims to achieve through this intervention is to support digital transformation and spur OECS entrepreneurs to take advantage of opportunities to scale through access to eCommerce. A more intermediate outcome for the Commission is to identify the key limiting factors to the expansion of digital trade in the OECS.
According to the OECS Permanent Delegation to the United Nations in Geneva, given that Ecommerce is also being discussed at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other international fora, there is an urgent need for all OECS Member States to be sensitized to the evolving regulatory environment that is likely to emerge from these talks. This is even more important against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic which has revealed both the necessity for digital transformation, as well as the extent of the prevailing digital divide between and among countries.