Trends and Best Practices in the Digital Economy

Trends and Best Practices in the Digital Economy

Stephen M. Mutula (University of Botswana, Botswana)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-420-0.ch017


Various global initiatives are taking place in the digital economy that aim to enhance global business trade and development, especially with regard to e-commerce. The International Chamber of Commerce - ICC (1997), for example, has been involved in a few initiatives aimed at promoting global trust in electronic trade transactions by defining, identifying, and deconstructing what constitutes best practices within the digital economy. The International Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit, private international organization that works to promote and support global trade. It also codifies and harmonizes world trade practices in various publications. The ICC focuses on three distinct areas, namely General Usage for International Digitally Ensured Commerce (GUIDEC); the Electronic Trade Practices Working Group; and E-terms Service. GUIDEC expects to instil trust in open electronic commerce by developing a common understanding of the mechanisms used to guarantee identities and authenticate transactions over electronic networks. GUIDEC was established to provide guidance in a market where different definitions in different jurisdictions threaten to undermine the utility of digital signatures in cross-border trade.
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North American Digital Economy Initiatives

Countries in the developed world have a number of successful e-commerce initiatives that provide examples of best practices to those just starting to implement e-commerce programmes. In North America, both the United States and Canada have achieved high rates of e-readiness, with an e-commerce absorption rate of about 70%, placing them among the world’s leaders in e-commerce assessments. Canada has consistently been highly ranked in the global league of nations in e-readiness and e-government assessments. Among the initiatives that have been undertaken by the state, is Government of Canada Online, an official government website designed to make interactions with stakeholders, including businesses, a lot easier. The website is characterised by its focus on users, connectedness, tailor-made online services, and the integration of services (Government of Canada, 2006).

Canada has invested several billions of Canadian dollars in creating knowledge and encouraging innovation through various federal-level research and development funding initiatives. For example, every school and library in the country is connected and involved in constant skills’ upgrades. Through the community access program, Canada has connected a number of rural communities to the Net, and also provides the International Computer Driving License curriculum for professionals and teachers to upgrade IT skills (Jutla et al. 2002). Furthermore, by promoting research and development as well as knowledge in SMEs, the Canadian government has improved their export potential and capacity to create jobs (Lefebvre and Lefebvre, 2000). The overall economic climate for e-business investment in the country is favourable because an online policy guiding access, standards, and ways of addressing privacy issues, is in place (Government of Canada, 2006). Canada has also recognized the equivalence of e-signatures and e-documents to their written, paper-based counterparts.

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