May 9, 2012, 3:02 PM
A three-day UNCTAD/ECOWAS workshop on E-Commerce for practitioners is under way at the Kairaba Beach Hotel organised by the United Nations conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
In his opening speech, Ebrima D. Jobe, Director of ICT at Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure (MoICI), said the face-to-face workshop on e-commerce for practitioners is one of the true manifestations of international cooperation partnership and support for the enhancement of e-commerce in the ECOWAS sub-region.
The workshop, he said, is a sequel to one held in Dakar, Senegal, and Accra in the recent past.
He said since UNCTAD started its capacity building programme on e-commerce for the sub-region in 2012, many ECOWAS member countries, in particular, The Gambia have benefited greatly from the programme, especially as regards promotion and enhancement of e-commerce strategies and the formulation of a legal framework for the harmonization of e-commerce laws for e-commerce practitioners.
Though e-commerce in the sub-region has not yet reached its full potential, and is in its early stages of development, its importance toward economic development among nations could not be overemphasised, he said.
He said the demand for e-commerce within the sub region is steadily emerging from various sectors such as the commercial sector, which comprises banking, trade and payment systems, among others.
In a bid to accelerate ICT development in The Gambia, he said, MoICI formulated the National Information Communication Infrastructure (NICI) policy strategies and plans, which seek to promote and implement e-commerce in The Gambia, among other things.
He said the implementation of the e-commerce plan is in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, such as the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Employment and Regional Integration, the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Central Bank of The Gambia and the Gambia Standards Bureau among others.
He added that the ICT sector in The Gambia recently saw the enactment of the ICT Act of 2009, which has provisions in line with ECOWAS Supplementary Acts on Electronic Transaction and Personal Data Protection, which are consistent with the harmonization of polices of legal and regulatory framework within ECOWAS.
Consequently, he said, The Gambia is one of the few ECOWAS countries with ECOWAS compliant ICT Acts that embodies general information society issues, consistent with the action plan of the World Summit on Information Society.
As The Gambia enhances its modern information and communication system, the Ministry of Trade, in collaboration with the Central Bank of The Gambia and other relevant stakeholders, is in the process of implementing the GAMSWITCH, which intends to establish a fully integrated national electronic payment system across all sectors for the facilitation of e-commerce in The Gambia.
“As we strive to develop our national and sub-regional infrastructure and regulatory regimes, we should take due cognizance of cyber crimes, and thereby endeavour to put in place solid cyber security systems and legislation to guard against cyber attacks at all levels,” Jobe said.
Therefore, issues of access and jurisdiction in the information society should not be compromised, but strictly guarded and protected against all forms of negative cyber incidence, he further stated.