Wider broadband coverage to spur women participation in e-commerce

KUALA LUMPUR: Internet providers should extend their broadband reach into the villages and rural parts of the country to lay the foundation for higher participation by women entrepreneurs in e-commerce.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking said he would look at e-commerce in a non-gender perspective, it was imperative to ensure that women participate in this sector.

“There are many women entrepreneurs in the interior parts of Sabah like Kudat, Sipitang and Pintas.

“However, they may not be able to participate in e-commerce due to lack of connectivity and their obligation to their families. So we need to give them the connectivity,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the “Public Private Dialogue on Women in the Digital Economy and International Trade”  here yesterday.

The half-day dialogue was held inconjunction with the workshop on “Inclusive Trade in Commonwealth”, organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the International Trade Centre (ITC).

Darell said digital economy and e-commerce would be the way forward and Malaysia was very active in promoting e-commerce as it aspired to become Asean’s hub for e-commerce.

On November 12, 2018, he said Malaysia signed the Asean Agreement on Electronic Commerce, a concerted effort between 10 countries to smoothen cross border e-commerce transactions by reducing barriers and lowering entry costs.

Darell said this agreement showed Malaysia’s commitment to further boost e-commerce in Malaysia.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail who launched the dialogue said Malaysia recognised the importance of the digital economy and had embarked on various initiatives to enable the greater participation of local businesses in e-commerce and facilitate access to global markets.

“Digital economy is shifting our traditional transactions. People now are shopping online, paying with contactless bank cards and sending money using platforms such as Paypal.

“More fundamentally, we must ensure that this change is not detrimental to women.

“While not discounting the risk of the digital divide, women entrepreneurs must seize the chance brought about by digital economy to equip themselves with the right tools and use the right platforms to grow their businesses and venture beyond,” she added.- Bernama