Kickstart of the Just-in-time Course on Digital Commerce

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Geneva, Switzerland, 27 April, 2017: The Just-In-time Course on Digital Commerce was launched yesterday during UNCTAD’s E-commerce Week 2017. The five-week blended course, which will run until the end of May, is delivered by the Geneva Internet Platform (GIP) in partnership with the International Trade Centre (ITC), the Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS International), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and DiploFoundation.

Speaking at the special session on 26 April, which kickstarted the course, GIP head Dr Jovan Kurbalija explained the impetus for developing the course, which was in response to the need of policymakers to understand this increasingly complex topic. ITC Chief Economist Ms Marion Jansen emphasised the topic’s novelty and complexity, which needs to be grasped in order to capture its full potential.

CUTS International Executive Mr Rashid S. Kaukab referred to the potential for e-commerce to provide benefits at all levels, especially in developing countries. Yet, these countries often struggle to understand the various aspects of e-commerce. According to Ms Marie Sicat, Economic Affairs Officer at UNCTAD, the course has been launched at an appropriate time, considering the mounting interest on digital commerce.

The launch saw interventions from DiploFoundation Digital Policy Researcher Ms Marilia Maciel and GIP Programme Manager Dr Roxana Radu who explained the methodology behind the course.

The launch was followed by a first lecture by Dr Kurbalija, focusing on Internet functionality and business models. Although the Internet is often imagined as being largely decentralised, he demonstrated that most Internet traffic flows through physical submarine cables and connects in a number of important hubs. With the increased technological advancement of the Internet, people started to realise its commercial potential, and new business models arose, including the Internet access model, the trade digitalisation model, the data model, the cloud service model, and the Internet platform model. Ultimately, this has created Internet applications that have become central to people’s needs and aspirations, and which affects all layers of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.