E-commerce, one of the main pillars of the digital economy, was the focus of a recent conference in Salalah, Oman, where the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) presented its work on economic dimensions of e-consumer data in e-commerce, including crucial issues the Arab region needs to consider as it grows its digital tools.
The 6th International Conference on e-Commerce, organized by the Omani Chamber of Commerce and Industry on 12 and 13 August, was attended by dozens of senior officials from national entities who came together to discuss priority issues at national, regional and global levels, especially related to economic growth and employment.
Within the framework of ESCWA’s technical cooperation programme, the Commission’s Regional Advisor on Technology for Development, Nawar Al-Awa, presented a keynote paper on “economic dimensions of e-consumer data in e-commerce”. The presentation highlighted the status of the digital economy and perspectives at regional and global levels, the relationship between consumer data and open data including its impact on economic growth, employment and technology investments such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
“Discussions during the conference showed the importance of ESCWA’s technical support through advisory services, studies and capacity building in the areas of technology for development,” Nawar Al-Awa underlined.
“Alongside these efforts, as member States work on enhancing and updating national laws related to consumer data protection, activists need to raise e-consumers awareness on e-commerce data policies,” he added.
Mr. Al-Awa showcased issues and examples related to consumer data and privacy policies, as perceived from e-commerce companies. The presentation also offered guidance on developing legislative frameworks for e-consumer protection; opening public and private data; the role of chambers of industry and commerce in developing local e-commerce standards; updating academic curricula to meet the market demands in e-commerce; the importance of including data dimension in public-private partnership; and supporting youth innovation and entrepreneurship to stimulate e-commerce applications in Arab States.
At the closing session, the recommendations of the conference included many of those presented by ESCWA.