Training Report: Cross-border E-commerce & Digital Innovation

April 30, 2021

Training Report: South-South & Triangular Cooperation Among Cities on Cross-border E-commerce & Digital Innovation for Sustainable Development

E-commerce is an effective instrument with which developing countries can unlock the opportunities offered by digital innovation in creating jobs, accelerating economic growth, reducing poverty, and improving gender equality. South-South and triangular cooperation (SSTC) accelerates the development of e-commerce in developing countries where many have made extraordinary progress in harnessing e-commerce for socioeconomic growth. Southern countries and cities are ready to cooperate among themselves to generate innovative and effective solutions in this field. However, in developing countries the development of e-commerce, including cross-border e-commerce, still faces many challenges, such as the digital gap. To address these challenges, Southern countries need to, among other things, enhance policy coordination and capacity building.

Between 14 August and 4 December 2020, the UNOSSC Cities Project and the China Association of Trade in Services (CATIS) jointly organized a series of webinars focusing on South-South and Triangular Cooperation Among Cities on Cross-border E-commerce and Digital Innovation for Sustainable Development.

The series focused on South-South mutual learning and knowledge exchange on cities and development partners’ innovative experiences of development partners in developing cross-border e-commerce and harnessing digital innovation for achieving the SDGs; and for partnership brokering among cities towards the establishment of a community or cluster of cities focusing on SSC in e-commerce and digital innovation.

The 15 webinars under the series engaged 55 high-calibre speakers from various sectors, including UN agencies, municipal governments, provincial governments, national governments, NGOs, the private sector, and research institutes.  The webinars also showcased innovative experiences from a number of cities, including Chongqing City, Guangzhou City, Hangzhou City, Henan Province, Nanjing City, Ningbo City, Qingdao City, and several countries, including Belarus, Benin, Brazil, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA. By the end of 2020, these webinars had been viewed approx. 1.7 million times by people from 52 countries and territories and over 120 cities.

As a follow up to the webinar series, the UNOSSC Cities Project commissioned CATIS to create a webinar report, to coordinate the identification of the innovative experiences of cities in cross-border e-commerce, and to support the implementation of these experiences in countries requesting assistance. Another follow-up action will be the launch of a thematic SSTC city cluster focusing on knowledge sharing and partnership brokering among cities and city-related institutions. The cluster will be operationalized via an online Community of Practice hosted by South-South Galaxy.