This edition focuses on trade connectivity, which is critical for inclusiveness and sustainable development. Physical connectivity enables the movement of goods and services to local, regional and global markets. Digital connectivity is vital in today's trade environment. Both are closely intertwined. Yet, the Internet remains unavailable to 3.9 billion people globally, many of whom live in the least developed countries (LDCs). And although mobile broadband networks are now available for more than 50% of the population in LDCs, digital devices and fixed network connections remain high in price, and limited in coverage. Landlocked, small and vulnerable economies face inherent challenges as they try to fully exploiting their trade and development potential. Trade costs also remain stubbornly high in critical sectors where growth is associated with strong poverty reduction effects, most prominently in the agricultural sector. And the adverse effects of high trade costs fall disproportionately on micro, small- and medium sized enterprises in developing countries. This report expands the analysis of trade costs into the digital domain, reflecting the changing nature of trade. It seeks to identify ways to help developing countries – and notably LDCs – realise gains from trade by connecting to the digital economy. The report proposes an action-oriented agenda for a broad coalition of stakeholders, including LDC governments, providers of South-South co-operation, international donors and the private sector.
Organization For Economic Co-Operation & Development