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SAARC Development Fund plans cross-border e-commerce platform

SAARC Development Fund (SDF), the cross-border umbrella financing institution for SAARC member states, is in the process of developing an e-commerce platform to enable seamless trade of goods and services across SAARC member states, a top official said.
It would also fund start-ups, giving a boost to budding entrepreneurs in the region, said Sunil Motiwal, Chief Executive Officer, SDF.
“A proposal to develop a cross-border e-commerce platform, along with a SAARC money card for the common people across the region, is under finalisation,” said Motiwal. The plastic SAARC money card can have denominations of all the currencies in the region.
Summarising the outcome of the recent two-day SAARC Development Fund Partnership Conclave, Motiwal said that the common e-commerce platform has a great potential for enhancing intra-SAARC trade and services. For instance, consumers of Bangladesh textile – located anywhere in the region – can place orders on the e-commerce platform. Likewise, a range of commodities, including fruits and vegetables grown in Bhutan, Pakistan and India, can be sold and bought online, which will immensely help the producers and consumers, he said
Currently, only 4 per cent of the total trade of SAARC member states takes place within the region. This can be increased significantly by initiatives such as e-commerce, a booming business across the world, according to Motiwal.
Motiwal said initiatives such as the e-commerce platform, along with the funding of start-ups, found instant support among the international funding organisations.