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Information economy report 2015

Unlocking the potential of E-Commerce for developing countries

image of Information economy report 2015
Electronic commerce (e-commerce) is rapidly transforming the way in which enterprises are interacting among each other as well as with consumers and governments. Despite important potential benefits, businesses and consumers in developing countries were for a long time slow to exploit e-commerce. As a result of changes in the evolving landscape for information and communications technologies (ICTs), this pattern is now changing, and e-commerce is growing rapidly in emerging markets and developing economies. Against this background, this publication revisits the potential opportunities and risks of e-commerce and examines how countries can benefit the most from the phenomenon in today's Information Society. Using official statistics and private sector data, it provides an up-to-date review of global and regional trends related to e-commerce in view of changes in the ICT landscape, focusing on developing countries while drawing lessons from developed countries.

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Measuring the e-commerce readiness of countries

With a view to assessing the e-commerce readiness of countries, this chapter starts by identifying a set of key facilitating factors that determine the extent to which enterprises and consumers are able to engage in online commerce. While the focus is on B2C transactions, the prerequisites for participating in B2B e-commerce are similar. Based on the analysis of the factors influencing the scope for e-commerce, the chapter introduces the UNCTAD B2C E-commerce Index covering 130 economies. This new Index allows countries to compare their e-commerce readiness against others and indicates their relative strengths and weaknesses concerning different elements of the e-commerce process.

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