Digitalization for Development: Where is small business?

A panel discussion during the eCommerce Week 2022: Data and Digitalization for Development

The session was jointly organized by

Recording of the webinar on April 29, 2022

The eCommerce Week 2022: Data and Digitalization for Development, organized by UNCTAD in collaboration with the ILO, International Trade Centre and eTrade for all and other partners, took place simultaneously in Geneva and online from 25 to 29 April 2022. The 2022 edition held under the theme “Data and Digitalization for Development”, putting a special emphasis on data and cross-border data flows and the crucial role they play in economic and social development. It looked at ways to strengthen the ability of developing countries, including least developed countries (LDCs), to continue engaging in and benefiting from e-commerce and the digital economy, to build more resilient and inclusive societies in a dramatically different post-COVID-19 environment.

During the eCommerce Week, a panel discussion on Digitalization for Development: …where is a small business? was organized on 29 April 2022 at 11 AM-12 PM CEST. Micro and small enterprises (MSEs) contribute close to 40 percent of jobs worldwide but have so far remained largely excluded from the benefits of the “digital revolution”. The ILO’s Small goes digital report sheds new light on the challenges and possible ways forward for MSEs. The panel considered new evidence from the field and evaluate two models (the capacity model and the environmental model) of how MSEs adopt digital technologies. It also looked at those small businesses that have “digitalized” and what kind of data they use to launch and then manage their online presence. During this session, the panelists discussed digitalization for development, challenges for small businesses, and the importance of data in business development.


  • Dr. Nicolas Friederici, Senior Researcher, the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society
  • Ms. Marisa Conway, Co-Founder and Chief Learning Officer of Arifu
  • Ms. Rhea Abboud, Co-founder of
  • Mr. James Howe, Senior Adviser, International Marketing, Branding, and e-Commerce at International Trade Centre (ITC)
Moderated by Mr. Dragan Radic, Head of SME Unit, International Labour Organization (ILO)