aid for trade

Aid-For-Trade workshop

"Digital connectivity and economic diversification"

Virtual event

Responses to the 2022 joint OECD-WTO Aid-for-Trade monitoring and evaluation exercise confirm a widely observed phenomenon that the COVID-19 pandemic has acted as an accelerator of the move to digital economy. OECD research suggests that some 800 million people came online for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. 

The necessity to get online to work, learn and communicate during the pandemic has also highlighted shortcomings in national digital connectivity. These issues development partners have been working to address through support to help narrow the digital divide. Past Aid-for-Trade work on connectivity highlights that this divide is not only between countries in terms of speed, affordability of reliability of internet connection, it is also exists within countries between urban and rural areas, large firms and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and between men and women.

Digitally deliverable services are becoming an increasingly important element of services trade. UNCTAD research suggests that digitally deliverable services reached almost 64% of global services exports in 2020. Less digitalized countries are at a disadvantage in leveraging e-commerce. They are also less able to benefit from the resilience of digitally deliverable services trade in response to shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments face challenges in ensuring that digital economy trade opportunities are shared inclusively, in part due to the complexity of policy questions raised by new technologies and business models.

Against this background, the purpose of this workshop is to review recent policy research and examine practice as reported by a representative cross-section of WTO Members replies to the 2022 Aid-for-Trade Monitoring and Evaluation Exercise. 




  • Michael Roberts, Head, Aid for Trade Unit, Development Division, World Trade Organization



  • "Preliminary insights from the 2022 monitoring exercise on digital connectivity" – Theo Mbise, Development Division, WTO


Policy perspectives

Question and answer session


Practice perspectives

  • "Digital connectivity and economic diversification – a perspective from Madagascar" – Gil Razafintsalama, Consultant, Expert in digital development and e-commerce and President of the Administrative Council of the Higher School for Information Technologies (ESTI)
  • "Digitalization, e-commerce and EU Aid for Trade" - Paz Velasco Velasquez, Head of Sector Investment Climate and Trade, DG INTPA E2 - Micro-Economic Analysis, Investment Climate, Private Sector, Trade and Employment, European Commission
  • "Aid for Trade, digital connectivity and economic diversification an Asian Development Bank Perspective" Pramila Crivelli, Economist, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, Asian Development Bank

Question and answer session


Closing remarks



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