Karine Haji, Russian Foreign Trade Academy, April 2021. Link


E-commerce plays an essential role in modern trade today. It is expected that e-commerce volume amounted to 29 trillion USD in the world in 2017, and would grow with the spread of the Internet and information and communication technologies (ICTs). Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), together with many others, consider e-commerce a means to facilitate rapid, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, improving the living standards and alleviating poverty. This article examines areas for potential cooperation by BRICS countries in e-commerce development across rural and remote areas to fight poverty. It analyses the current state of e-commerce development in rural and remote areas in each of the BRICS countries, including cases of public and private initiatives to support it. The article also defines the opportunities which e-commerce brings to people living in rural and remote areas. Moreover, it evaluates the existing challenges and risks. The article concludes that despite the rapid e-commerce development in BRICS countries, and significant opportunities created, there are still issues of disproportionate e-commerce in varied regions and the lack of BRICS cooperation in this sphere. Based on a comparative and normative in-depth, systematic analysis, the article develops a set of recommendations for deepening BRICS countries’ cooperation in the following areas: infrastructure in rural and remote regions; education; consumer protection; online dispute resolution; coordinated policy in the international scene, including representation of BRICS countries in international indexes, such as the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Digital Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI).

The article was written on the basis of the Russian Foreign Trade Academy assigned research programme.