An inclusive digital trade policy in 2021

Karishma Banga and Dirk Willem te Velde, February 2021


Digitalisation is changing the nature, content and modalities of trade, and Covid-19 has reinforced recent trends. A range of international trade events in 2021 could shape digital trade policy. E-commerce discussions will take place at upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meetings (CHOGMs) and the 12th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC12).

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) should also bring forward discussions on e-commerce. In addition, the UK is signing and reviewing free trade agreements (FTAs) with a range of partners and will chair G7 discussions on trade, health and climate.

This note sets out key issues around the digital economy, trade and development, discusses the digital divide and presents ways the global trade community and bilateral players can facilitate inclusive digital trade.


Photo: Access to mobile phone in a fishing village in Nigeria. Arne Hoel / World Bank. Licence: (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)