During the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce and platform became a lifeline for some poor households to sell and buy online. For example, it enabled street vendors in Lao People’s Democratic Republic to sell products through social media platforms during the pandemic. Indeed, even before the pandemic, some governments in the region had used e-commerce as a tool for poverty reduction. In China, e-commerce has been used as a propeller of poverty alleviation.
E-commerce is emerging as a powerful tool for women's empowerment in developing countries. Women entrepreneurs using digital platform and e-commerce can find new export markets, reach a larger number of potential clients, secure higher number of orders thanks to networking. However, equitable access to e-commerce for women entrepreneurs needs to be considered by support services in areas such as training, gender analysis, planning, design, implementation, monitoring and assessment, by paying particular attention to the effect on women's lives and conditions.
It is undeniable that gig economy has created many jobs. However, gig economy workers normally do not have social protections and almost have no bargaining power vis-à-vis the digital economy platform.
Policy interventions in these areas need to drive greater inclusion of the poor and BoEP, as well as women, in digital platform economy. For the gig economy, policy should be geared to strike a balance for job creating and protection of gig econom workers.