Side event at the SDPI’s Twenty-second Sustainable Development Conference Sustainable Development in a Digital Society to Launch EIF-UNESCAP project on “E-Commerce Capacity Building for women-led SMEs in South Asia.”

4 Dec 2019
Islamabad, Pakistan
By invitation only

The world has witnessed the rapid emergence of electronic commerce (e-commerce) or digital commerce, bringing about significant changes in the way business is conducted across the globe. The South Asian region is also experiencing substantial growth in trade through e-commerce platforms. However, e-commerce is still at a nascent stage in the South Asian LDC members. While domestic e-commerce is on the rise, the use of an e-commerce platform for international trade is otherwise limited.

South Asia faces challenges relating to access to finance, ICT as many women entrepreneurs in subregion are not able to expand their businesses and become part of a wider regional and global supply chains mostly due to lack of knowledge and limited scale of their businesses (micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME)). Access to ICT, especially to those with small e-commerce businesses, can bring about additional information resources and open new communication channels, particularly in marginalized communities. Examples from other developing countries illustrate that women entrepreneurs using ICT technologies find new export markets and reach a significant number of customers, secure a higher number of orders, and significantly cut setup and overhead costs. Also, the use of ICT ensures efficient business practices, and allow for flexible working arrangements, e.g., work from home, etc. Therefore, e-commerce can be a powerful tool for bringing in greater gains to women entrepreneurs since it addresses the outmoded barriers of geographic isolation and limited access to information and financing. Therefore, to train and equip women entrepreneurs for using e-commerce platforms will facilitate their business opportunities and can assist them in becoming a part of a regional or global supply chain.

While the United Nations ESCAP South and South-West Asia Office (ESCAP-SSWA) is organizing a side event at the side-line of SDPI’s Twenty-second Sustainable Development Conference on 'Sustainable Development in a Digital Society' to launch EIF-UNESCAP project on “E-Commerce Capacity Building for women-led SMEs in South Asia on 4 December 2019, ‘Panel Discussion on 'Promoting Regional Cooperation in South Asia for Achieving SDGs' during the SDPI’s Twenty-second Sustainable Development Conference on 'Sustainable Development in a Digital Society' being held on 4 December 2019.