Bridging the Digital Divide and Supporting Increased Digital Trade: Scoping Study
The global economy is experiencing important technological shifts, with the rise of digital technology a key driver. This can be seen today in the rapid growth of the digital economy, broadly defined as the use of digital technologies to facilitate business transactions, including production, exchange and consumption, and encompassing e-commerce, digitally delivered services, online payments and digital media. These shifts are likely to intensify in the coming years with new technologies that are emerging on the back of these earlier developments, such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and autonomous vehicles. This discussion paper aims to provide an overall framework for examining the challenges in more detail. We first highlight the overarching economic shifts taking place as a result of digital transformation and their impacts in developing and emerging economies. We then provide a framework for systematically analysing these policies and establishing the basis of the subsequent research, looking at both policies that support markets in enabling digital trade and digital catch-up policies. While policymaking in this area is still nascent, through exploring policy activity across countries we are able to highlight a range of policies undertaken. From this analysis, we conclude that case studies of Brazil and from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region can provide broader insights on policymaking in this area.