The potential of e-commerce is undeniable. From e-banking for the unbanked to small and medium-sized enterprises joining supply chains, to individuals marketing new products and services and farmers accessing real-time weather and market data, e-commerce provides a modern, still evolving marketplace that can make economies far more inclusive. Developing e-commerce, however, also means dealing with multiple hurdles and challenges related to economic, legal and institutional, and social developments.
The report presents a new comprehensive framework to better examine the development of B2C e-commerce in the region. It provides a systemic way of understanding different facets and factors that define and affect the industry’s evolution. Moreover, the report examines the impact on e-commerce of so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies—such as blockchains, the internet of things, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and 5G wireless technology.
The report offers policy recommendations that could reduce barriers to B2C e-commerce. It breaks them down into groups that directly impact e-commerce development: (i) governments and international agencies, (ii) trade associations, (iii) businesses within the e-commerce ecosystem, and (iv) consumers and the general public. The role of governments is important, for example for improving access to affordable and reliable internet connections, developing the delivery and logistics systems, enacting e-transaction laws, and enforcing online intellectual property rights, along with strengthening financial and e-payment infrastructure.