African group opposes starting negotiations on e-commerce at the WTO

The African Group tabled a paper expressing their positions on current e-commerce discussions at the WTO. The African countries expressed their willingness to continue discussions under the framework of the Work Programme on e-commerce, but did not agree to go beyond the current structure or institutional arrangements, as proposed by other countries. According to them, since substantive disagreements still persist on several issues, the creation of a new structure, such as a working group, would not contribute to solving divergences. Furthermore, the document questions the assumption that ‘multilateral rules on e-commerce will leapfrog development through the power of MSMEs’, but argues that the beneficiaries of e-commerce discussions will be multinational corporations who have become global digital leaders.