Marketlinks and the Alliance for eTrade Development II (“eTrade Alliance”) held a webinar on Wednesday, January 26 at 9:00am EST exploring how ecommerce has emerged as a crucial tool for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) growth, and the roles that donors and private sector partners can play in ushering an equitable and inclusive digital transformation for SMEs in developing markets. To this end, the eTrade Alliance convened the expertise of its members to discuss the biggest barriers to ecommerce in developing countries today, what role  donors can play in digital transformation with a focus on ecommerce, and why it is in corporations’ best interest to invest in systems-level problem solving to bring more businesses online.

Funded by USAID and led by Palladium and Nextrade Group, eTrade Alliance members Cargill, DHL, Element, Etsy, eCommerce Institute, Mastercard, PayPal, Ringier One Africa Media, UPS, and Visa bring 360° ecommerce solutions to the  greatest challenges endured by developing country SMEs working to bring their business online and export to new markets. In particular, the Alliance focuses on last mile logistics, financial services, digital skills capacity building, and closing the digital divide.

Check out the post-event resources to hear from the eTrade Alliance on its experiences over two years of implementation and the case for why enabling ecommerce can be a strong development tool for SME growth and competitiveness.

Speakers 

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Kati

Kati Suominen (Moderator)
Founder and CEO, Nextrade Group

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Devi

Devi Ramkissoon
Market Systems Specialist, USAID 

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Maria

Maria Luisa Boyce
Vice President, International Policy for UPS Global Public Affairs

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Erica

Erica Libertelli
Executive Director, eCommerce Institute

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Wameek Noor

Wameek Noor
Director, Global Government Engagement and Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) at Visa and Visa Economic Empowerment Institute (VEEI) Fellow

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Jason Blackman

Jason Blackman
Senior Director - Customs, Trade Compliance and Regulatory Affairs
DHL Express - Sub Saharan Africa

Biographies

Kati Suominen
Founder and CEO, Nextrade Group

Kati Suominen is the Founder and CEO of the Los Angeles-based Nextrade Group that helps governments, multilateral development banks, and Fortune 500 technology companies enable trade through technology. Nextrade's 45 clients include the World Bank, IFC, IDB, ADB, USAID, UK FCDO, Mastercard, Visa, Google, eBay, Amazon, and Fedex, among many others. Dr. Suominen has ideated and built dozens of data and analytical products and pilot initiatives as well as eight global initiatives and public-private-partnerships to enable digital trade, including, most recently, the Alliance for eTrade Development I and II between 14 leading companies and USAID to enable SME ecommerce in developing nations. She also serves as Adjunct Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Adjunct Professor at UCLA Anderson School of Management. Earlier in her career, she was a Trade Economist at the Inter-American Development Bank. Suominen is the author and editor of over 100 papers and 10 peer-reviewed books on trade, globalization, and technology with leading academic presses, most recently Revolutionizing World Trade: How Disruptive Technologies Open Opportunities for All (Stanford University Press, 2019). She is Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and holds a PhD from the University of California, San Diego and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business.

Devi Ramkissoon
Market Systems Specialist, USAID 

Devi Ramkissoon is a Market Systems Specialist with USAID's Center for Economics and Market Development in the Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation. There, she provides technical leadership and guidance on markets systems and inclusive economic development globally. She previously served in the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security advising Feed the Future Missions across Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean on integrating market systems development into their food security, nutrition, and resilience investments. Ms. Ramkissoon holds a B.A. from Swarthmore College and an M.Sc. from Georgetown University.

Maria Luisa Boyce
Vice President, International Policy for UPS Global Public Affairs

Maria Luisa Boyce serves as Vice President for International Policy for UPS Global Public Affairs, bringing over 20 years of experience and leadership in international trade, customs issues, and cross-border trade. In her current role, she advocates for UPS’s priorities on Capitol Hill, supports the company’s government affairs efforts in Latin America, is part of the UPS core team leading the UPS Women Exporter Program, and serves as a liaison for UPS to National Hispanic Organizations.

Prior to joining UPS, Mrs. Boyce served as U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Senior Advisor to the Commissioner for Trade and Private Sector Engagement and Director for the Office of Trade Relations. Mrs. Boyce assumed this role after serving as the Assistant Commissioner for CBP's Office of Public Affairs. Mrs. Boyce was also the Small Business Ombudsman and Regulatory Fairness Representative for CBP, serving as a liaison between the international trading community and senior CBP managers.

Before joining the federal government, Mrs. Boyce served as President of the Border Trade Alliance, a non-profit organization that represents 2 million stakeholders involved in border and trade issues in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Mrs. Boyce is fluent in Spanish and conversational in French. She holds a B.A. in finance and international relations from the Universidad Externado de Colombia. She also holds a certificate from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government for completing the Strategic Management for Regulatory and Enforcement Agencies Executive Course.

Erica Libertelli
Executive Director, eCommerce Institute

Erica Libertelli is a professional with 19 years of experience in business and technology-oriented education. She is an executive director at eCommerce Institute where she leads global projects and initiatives for the development and acceleration of the digital economy, including through the design of scalable and tailored training programs and MSME access to digital services.

In addition, she works with Chambers and Associations of Electronic Commerce around the world to organize and promote initiatives such as eCommerce DAY and develop and implement international trade and inclusive digital commerce programs, especially related to the creation of eCommerce capacities for companies led by women and the promotion of women's leadership in the digital commerce sector through the eCommerce Institute's eWomen Program.

She is an also an instructor at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and manager in ​international government and donor-funded projects​ ​for eCommerce development​ ​leading​ ​eCommerce Institute’s training and capacity-building initiatives on eCommerce with USAID’s eTrade Alliance, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Brazil Global Trade Hub), and USAID Central Asia's Future Growth Initiative, among others.

Wameek Noor
Director, Global Government Engagement and Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) at Visa and Visa Economic Empowerment Institute (VEEI) Fellow

Wameek Noor is Director, Global Government Engagement and Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) at Visa and Visa Economic Empowerment Institute (VEEI) Fellow. Wameek has over fifteen years of experience in inclusive financial sector development. In his previous professional capacities at CGAP, World Bank, United Nations Foundation and Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), he has engaged public-private stakeholders to create a scalable and responsible digital financial services ecosystem in developing countries and make financial services universally available to low-income individuals. Wameek has overseen commercial pilots with promising FinTech testing innovative digital products and has built capacity with Regulatory and Supervisory Authorities to develop enabling policy and regulation. He has also worked in microfinance in Bangladesh with Grameen Bank and the Corporate Executive Board, a strategy consulting firm.  Wameek holds a master’s degree in economics and international development from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Vassar College.

Jason Blackman
Senior Director - Customs, Trade Compliance and Regulatory Affairs
DHL Express - Sub Saharan Africa

Jason Blackman is a logistics and express industry veteran with over 26 years’ experience within the courier and logistics industry. He started working at DHL in South Africa in 1994 and has held various roles including Claims and Risk Management, Export Management, Head of Customer Operations for Sub Saharan Africa, Head of Customs for DHL Global Forwarding Sub Saharan Africa and is currently Senior Director of Customs, Compliance and Regulatory Affairs for DHL Express Sub Sahara Africa. Jason holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Economics, Marketing and Commercial Law. With a strong focus on a liberalized competitive market environment with simplified, transparent customs processes that promote and facilitate free trade Jason’s focus efforts are on regulatory engagement and collaboration between the private sector and Government as well as other Regulatory Agencies.