ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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E-Commerce

Issues for Developing Countries

E-Commerce

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The media anxiety about the plunging status of IT stocks both in the US and in India, while certainly not misplaced for the financial transfers that it implies, is also indicative of the social location that IT and e-commerce have very rapidly gained. Much change has been predicated on the vigorous growth of e-commerce, estimated to comprise up to 25 per cent of cross-border trade flows by 2003, and IT-enabled services: new employment, easy transfer of goods and money and hence speedier commerce, seamless integration of knowledge-services and therefore evolution of uniform norms, practices and standards – in short, globalisation in the perfect and complete sense implicitly in an international level playing field. The rapid deceleration of the value of IT companies in the stock markets has thrown many predictions and futures into uncertainty.

In this context it is encouraging that the UNDP’s recently released report on electronic commerce ‘Building Confidence: Electronic Commerce and Development’ should envisage a big potential for growth of e-commerce and focus on the means of using e-commerce to narrow the yawning distance between rich and poor countries. The report, first presented at UNCTAD’s tenth conference in Bangkok in February 2000, poses some issues which need to be factored into policies for development of e-commerce in developing countries. To begin with, the rapid expansion in e-commerce means that developing countries will have to comprehensively update trade policies and retool commercial strategies. So what will the e-scenario be over the next couple of years (the rapidity of developments in this field tends to make longer term predictions grossly inaccurate)?

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