In recent years there has been a sharp increase in digital services trade, i.e. services delivered remotely over ICT networks, which was further boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This trend entails significant implications for development, as digital services trade offers opportunities for diversifying exports and opening new markets. As the crisis continues and traditional trading options continue to decline, digitalization and the remote delivery of services could be material for building back better. Digital services trade is also an area that is included into various negotiating agendas on the regional as well as global level. But despite its global expansion, potential and promise, not least in mitigating the effects of the pandemic, few developing countries have succeeded in making digital services a substantial component of their export offer. Does this mean that developing countries have little to gain from digital services trade? What is the role of digital services in the developing world? What are the the dynamics of digital services trade and its impact on developing countries?
This session focused on the impact of digital services trade on growth and development, including by furthering the integration of MSMEs and women in international trade. The discussion addressed trade flows on digital services to and from developing countries, the key regulations that support digital services, and the challenges faced by digital services providers in the developing world. Policymakers, international experts, and stakeholders wild build on GIZ and WB research and their experience to offer guidance on the role of development cooperation in realizing the growth and inclusion opportunities associated with trade in digital services.
Deputy Director, IT for Change