Targeted assistance for the development of an enabling environment for e-commerce in the Pacific Region

The Project at A Glance

The Forum Island Countries (FICs) are scattered over a vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean and are mainly small, low-lying coral atoll nations mostly reliant on agriculture, fisheries, and tourism. The adoption and diffusion of Information, Communication and Technologies (ICT) have brought rapid growth of digitalisation in Pacific economies. Several measures have been taken in strategic areas of digital development, such as ICT infrastructure and connectivity, policy reforms and sector regulations, at both national and regional levels.

International Economics (IEC) carried out an assessment of Pacific e-commerce environment and developed a regional and sub-regional e-commerce strategy with a corresponding roadmap for implementation for the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

The project was implemented within the ACP-EU TradeCom II PROGRAMME, funded by the European Commision.

What We Found

The project was implemented between January and December 2020 with an objective to address the obstacles which undermine the development of e-commerce in the Pacific region, and, thereby, contribute to sustainable economic development and poverty reduction.

According to the study, e-commerce is at its early stage throughout the Pacific. Even though certain sectors and countries are observing growth in activity, a comprehensive regional approach is required to solve the critical obstacles identified in the study in order for e-commerce to thrive. To accelerate the adoption of e-commerce, Forum Island Countries (FIC) should develop a comprehensive plan to enhance the current e-commerce environment.

Our Strategy and Impact

In Pacific economies, digitisation has grown quickly as a result of the adoption and diffusion of Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT). The deregulation and liberalisation of the telecommunications sector throughout the Pacific in the 2000s is one of the many elements propelling this change.

The region’s economic, demographic, and geographic challenges can be addressed by the ICT revolution, which has the protentional to be revolutionary. Major global economic centres are distant from the region, as the majority of the population is spread among hundreds of islands in the Pacific Ocean. These obstacles can be addressed by ICT developments and the uptake of e-commerce.

Within this context, e-commerce presents a huge opportunity for the Pacific region to help overcome the main challenges of remoteness from the main international markets, poor connection both within and between the Forum Island Countries, and a lack of economic opportunities for disadvantaged rural communities.

In order to gather information, IEC used a variety of methods, including research and analysis through a review of national strategies and policies as well as current practices related to critical areas for e-commerce. Additionally, workshops and validation workshops were used to interact with both public and private stakeholders in the countries, and stakeholder consultations with countries that are part of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and Forum Island countries were conducted.

Specific activities included conducting and drafting an e-commerce assessment for the whole Pacific region with a separate section dedicated specifically to MSG; drafting Pacific and MGS e-commerce strategies based on the consolidated situation analysis and contents of the e-commerce assessments; preparing an Implementation Roadmap for sequencing reform and to achieve an enabling environment for e-commerce for the Pacific and MSG.

Our Core Solutions

E-Commerce and digital trade are an increasingly important way for businesses to transact with customers, creating immense opportunities, facilitate innovation, enhance competitiveness, and improve access in local and global markets.
International Economics Consulting provides advice and solutions on some of the latest emerging trends in e-commerce and digital trade such as paperless trading, e-payments, online consumer protection and data protection. We assist governments and businesses worldwide in creating an enabling environment for e-commerce and digital trade, to maximise economic growth and development.

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