NFTC’s Global Innovation Forum led a delegation of companies to Geneva the week of April 24 to discuss the role of global e-commerce in economic development and supporting small businesses.

On April 27, GIF hosted a workshop with the Friends of e-Commerce for Development, an informal group of delegations in Geneva led by the Heads of Mission for Costa Rica and Pakistan. The discussion focused on the role of internet-based services in the global success of small businesses.

It featured Omar Bawa, Head of Product, Goodwall (Switzerland), a social network that connects high school students from 180 countries to the world; Darko Dujic, CEO at Ceneje Group & Shopper’s Mind, ‎Ceneje.si (Slovenia), the largest portal for comparative shopping in Slovenia; Hai Ho, Founder, Triip.me (Vietnam), which turns ordinary locals into an amateur tour guide overnight; Fernand Matendo, CEO, Burundi Shop (Burundi), the leading company in digital communications and related services in Burundi; and Marc Refabert, President & CEO, Fromages.com (France), which sells the best of French cheeses.

GIF also hosted a reception with the FEDs group honoring WTO Director General Azevedo, who emphasized the importance of global e-commerce for businesses from around the world. GIF’s delegation also met privately with Ambassadors from countries including Australia, Costa Rica, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and the UK.

The delegation found significant enthusiasm for understanding and engaging on topics related to global e-commerce in Geneva, including at UNCTAD, where almost 1,000 people participated in the group’s e-commerce week programming.

At the WTO, countries – through the Friends of e-Commerce for Development and other small groups – are beginning to think through how to craft rules that would enable access to the global digital marketplace.