E-Commerce in Developing Countries: Impacts, Obstacles and Policies

Business to Business (B2B) e-commerce promises a radical shift in the way in which enterprises trade with each other. How will this affect agricultural producers and manufacturers in developing countries? Will it open new and cheap access to global markets? Or, conversely, will it entrench the power of global buyers? Or will developing country producers find themselves marginalised by e-commerce trading relationships that depend upon not only sophisticated communication technologies, but also efficient logistics systems, payment systems and certification? IDS research sought to answer these questions.

Key contacts

Image of John Humphrey
John Humphrey

Professorial Fellow

Project details

start date
1 January 2001
end date
31 December 2002


About this project

Research themes
Inclusive Economies


Image of Hubert Schmitz
Hubert Schmitz

Emeritus Fellow

Image of John Humphrey
John Humphrey

Professorial Fellow

Recent work


The Reality of E-Commerce with Developing Countries

Published by London School of Economics

Business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce is widely believed to promise a radical change in the way that firms trade with one another. B2B e-commerce applications are being promoted as tools that will enable producer firms in developing countries to reduce their costs substantially, thereby easing their access to global markets. The vision of B2B e-commerce is driven by a simple idea. The Internet provides an open global network and access to this network is relatively cheap. Internet-based B2B e-commerce should help producers in developing countries obtain better information on global markets and give them direct access to new customers.

1 January 2003


E-commerce in the Garment Industry in Kenya: Usage, Obstacles and Policies

Published by Institute for Development Studies

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have the potential to make vast amounts of information available to users located in various parts of the world and to facilitate rapid communication between them. One application of these technologies is in the development of ‘e-commerce’ to support electronic trading.

1 January 2002

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