The e-Development of the Caribbean Series: Part One - A brief look at e-Commerce

The e-Development of the Caribbean Series: Part One - A brief look at e-Commerce

E-commerce can be loosely defined as the buying and selling of goods and services on the Internet. This e-service comes in various forms: Business to Business (B2B), Business-to-Consumer (B2C), Consumer-to-Business (C2B) and Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C). Since its introduction some four decades ago, this industry has enjoyed an explosive growth, resulting in significant economic development and returns to nations that have tapped into its market. In fact, it is reported that e-commerce sales topped US$1 Trillion on 2012, with the main earners being Asia-Pacific, North America and Western Europe [¹]. Other advantages of e-commerce include: overcoming geographical limitations, lowering costs, elimination of travel time and cost, creating markets for niche products, and improvement in customer service [²].

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E-Development in the Developing World

E-Development in the Developing World

Richard Heeks [1] defines e-Development as the use of electronic information and communication technologies (ICTs), like the Internet, as a tool to support development. He further advises that in undertaking e-development, ICTs must not be placed centre-stage, but instead, an integrated approach should be taken in order to achieve the development objectives. ICTs are to be seen as a means to an end and not the end themselves - the role of ICTs must be beneficial and cause little to no negative impact, such as job losses. As such, to reduce the risk of negative impacts, there must be thorough planning in the introduction of ICTs for e-development.

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