The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIF) and Australia have signed a grant agreement to improve E-commerce Statistics in the Pacific.

The funding agreement worth AUD$84,000(US$56,505) was signed in Geneva in January 2023 by the PIF’s Permanent Representative and Ambassador, Mere Falemaka, and Australia’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organisation, George Mina.

The grant will support the work of the Pacific E-commerce Initiative towards the improvement of e-commerce data accessibility. The results of this support will be freely available on the statistics section of the Pacific E-commerce Portal which, interfacing with the Pacific Data Hub, captures already 37 indicators relating to the digital economy. The PIF will collaborate with the Pacific Community (SPC) and the UN Conference on Trade Development (UNCTAD) to jointly oversee this project, which will be implemented during the course of 2023.

Ambassador Mere Falemaka acknowledged and welcomed the contribution of the Government of Australia to supporting statistics access in the Pacific region, “e-commerce is an emerging sector in the Pacific, and as such there is lack of research and data to better inform decision-making. This grant will enable us to continue developing and making accessible the much needed data for the Pacific’.

Ambassador George Mina welcomed the new agreement “we are proud to be partnering with our close friends in the Pacific on this important venture. This initiative will help bridge the digital divide by improving the quality and accessibility of e-commerce data.”

The project implements Measure 1.2.1 of the Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap as well as addresses data challenges highlighted by UNCTAD’s recently published report on Digital Economy Report: Pacific Edition 2022. Australia also financed the first version of the Pacific e-commerce statistics which was published in August 2022.