At the request of the Government of Niue, and with the support of the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat and funding from the TradeCom II Facility (EU), International Economics Consulting Ltd undertook an E-commerce Assessment of the country to analyse the e-commerce environment, identify growth opportunities, and develop a roadmap for reforms within the sector.
The main challenges hampering Niue’s development of the e-commerce sector consist of:
- Lack of national ICT and e-commerce development strategies,
- Inadequate ICT infrastructure (though upgrades are underway);
- Lack of online transaction laws,
- Low-uptake of technology by business models, and
- High internet access costs.
Additionally, Niue’s small market size and geographical isolation from the rest of the world create a series of trade facilitation and logistics challenges that constrain the ability of its private sector to engage in e-commerce.
Despite these challenges, Niue has taken initiatives geared towards development of e-commerce sector. In 2018, the Government of Niue rolled out 4G services targeting more than 50% of its population. Additionally, Niue was for the first time connected to a submarine fibre cable network. From a private sector perspective, Niue Chamber of Commerce is actively engaged in providing training on e-commerce and related skills.
As a way forward, Niue should aim to upgrade the ICT infrastructure by securing long term-term support an cooperation from development partners and identifying possible public private partnership opportunities to upgrade ICT infrastructure, finalise the national ICT policy and develop an e-commerce strategy. Further regulatory reforms on investment, digital payment systems, trade facilitation, access to finance as well as skills development will also be required. Finally, a public-private dialogue mechanism will be crucial to enhance engagement and ownership among the stakeholders.
The Study can be downloaded directly from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s website.