Call for Applications: CAREC National Consultant (Framework for E-commerce Development in CAREC Countries: Focus on Infrastructure Development (Phase 2))

11 Sep 2020

CAREC Institute is hiring services of a national consultant with expertise and experience in e-commerce to assist the international consultant to undertake research on “Framework for E-commerce Development in CAREC Countries: Focus on Infrastructure Development (Phase 2)”.
The selected national consultant should work with/under leadership of CI team and international consultant. The services of the national consultant will be supplied for 20 working days.

Background and Rationale

The CAREC Integrated Trade Agenda (CITA) 2030 emphasizes the critical role of e-commerce in linking CAREC member countries with global value chains and in diversifying economies. Promotion of e-commerce and innovation is among the priority intervention areas identified under CITA 2030 and its Rolling Strategic Action Plan 2019-2021. The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has also highlighted the advantages of digitalization of all kinds of transactions and underscored the need to expedite digital transformation in many areas.

At the CAREC Workshop on Environmental Readiness for E-Commerce: Economic, Legal, and Institutional Factors (held in 6-7 December 2018 in Shanghai, PRC), participants elaborated on recommendations including the collection of high-quality data so as to:
(i) Enhance affordability of and access to information and communications technology (ICT);
(ii) Improve logistics and delivery infrastructure;
(iii) Broaden the e-payment availability and options;
(iv) Institute legal, regulatory, and institutional reforms;
(v) Intensify regional efforts to modernize and harmonize regulations.

Following the outcomes of the CAREC workshop and in pursuit of CAREC 2030 and CITA 2030’s Rolling Strategic Action Plan, CAREC Institute and Asian Development Bank (ADB) jointly implemented the research project on “Regulatory Framework for E-commerce Development in CAREC Countries” in 2019 to 2020. The project examined the state of legislations and regulation of electronic commerce in the eleven member states of the CAREC and recommended ways to align them with international good practices and potential harmonization. The research contributed to two of the above tasks, on instituting legal, regulatory, and institutional reforms; and intensifying regional efforts to modernize and harmonize regulations.

It is well-recognized that CAREC countries need to harness the opportunities of e-commerce and are working to improve these conditions. Most countries have taken steps to adopt international standards, providing incentives for increased e-commerce participation, and adopt measures to facilitate e-commerce transactions including through digital signatures and e-certification, e-payment capabilities, cross-border transfer of data and consumer protection. Some related strategies extend to countering cybercrime, increasing broadband capacity, or developing e-government.

Having investigated the legal environment for e-commerce in the CAREC region, the next phase will examine the economic factors and conditions, viewed along their logical sequence of (a) accessing the internet to engage in online transactions, (b) making and receiving payments, and (c) delivery and logistics. Preliminary information shows that the basic infrastructure in many CAREC countries still lags behind.

This research project (phase-2) will study e-commerce platforms, logistics and delivery infrastructure as well as conditions in CAREC countries such as, (i) affordability and access to ICT, (ii) bandwidth availability, (iii) availability of online payment options, (iv) delivery infrastructure, and (iv) economies of scale.

Objectives of the Project

This research project aims to examine CAREC countries’ economic factors and conditions for e-commerce, namely the (a) internet infrastructure, (b) e-payment systems, and (c) logistics and delivery infrastructure. It will draw from the experiences of CAREC countries (such as Azerbaijan, People’s Republic of China, Kazakhstan, and Georgia) and best practices from other regions as a model for e-commerce infrastructure development based on these factors.

The research will identify activities and propose action plans or next steps including areas of technical assistance or potential investment projects to ensure that key infrastructure for e-commerce is well-established for both domestic and cross-border transactions, support interoperability among e-commerce platforms where necessary, promote standardization and adoption of international best practice and lessons from CAREC’s experience with e-commerce infrastructure development.

Key Activities/Tasks of the intervention:

Following activities will be performed within the proposed project:
1. Analysis of current state of CAREC countries hard and soft infrastructure for domestic and cross-border e-commerce
2. Assess whether the necessary technologies in place, with secure information, transaction, processing, and payment services for e-commerce
3. Analyze operations of e-commerce service platform providers, either foreign or domestic, able to interoperate with other e-commerce platforms in the market
4. Highlight potential policy recommendations on the e-commerce infrastructure development for CAREC countries.

Specific Role and Responsibilities for National Consultant

In consultation with the CI research team and international consultant the national consultant shall:

1. Undertake a very detailed and comprehensive literature review related to CAREC countries’ economic factors and conditions for e-commerce, namely the (a) internet infrastructure, (b) e-payment systems, and (c) logistics and delivery infrastructure in consultation with the international consultant.
2. Highlight both primary and secondary data requirements, and how to overcome data gaps.
3. Help the international consultant in the translation of the questionnaire into mainly Russian, and Chinese, languages.
4. Help international consultant to conduct pilot testing as well as final on-line survey for research project “Framework for E-commerce Development in CAREC Countries: Focus on Infrastructure Development”.
5. Help international consultant in the compilation and analysis of the questionnaire data.

Minimum Qualification Requirements

1. At least Master degree major in e-commerce related areas, IT, economics and international trade.
2. 5 years’ research experience preferably in e-commerce related areas.
3. Working experience in international organizations will be a plus.
4. Working experience in country consultations regarding e-commerce infrastructure development will be a plus.
5. Working experience in conducting surveys regarding domestic and international trade, and trade facilitation will be a plus.

Expected Deliverable/Output

The Consultant will work with Research Division under lead researcher of CI. Following descriptions are the detailed tasks, duties and responsibilities for the Consultant:

1. Will assist international consultant in writing policy brief of ~3000 words before 30 September 2020 in the Development Asia format as provided by kmd@carecinstitute.org.
2. Will assist international consultant in writing an original publishable* research paper covering (as per CI paper formatting requirements. Will be shared during consultancy). The paper should include an abstract, keywords, bibliography, and should be accompanied by excel files for any figures and non-editable tables.
3. Any other task assigned by the international consultant.

* PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that to be considered eligible for publication authors need to follow the CI minimum quality requirement guidelines, including country naming conventions; to cooperate with the editing process; and to warrant that all necessary approvals from third-party copyright holders have been obtained. As a work-for-hire ADB and CAREC Institute holds the copyright on the commissioned work produced to be used and published in any way it chooses, including without limitation as a working paper, journal article, post, extract/abridgement, unsigned background paper or chapter for a report or book, or a combination thereof. ADB and CAREC Institute also reserve their right of final edit or to not publish commissioned work for which it pays.
Anti – Plagiarism Warning
ADB and CI have zero tolerance for plagiarism, which can harm its academic integrity and institutional reputation. Therefore, you and your collaborators, individually and collectively, are strictly liable for unacknowledged copying and passing off non-original material as your own, regardless of the reasons, excuses or mitigating factors. Apart from the usual contractual rights and remedies available to it herein, ADB and CI will also automatically levy liquidated deductions against your honorarium balance according to this formula:
Number of detected plagiarized words divided by 300 multiplied by US$150

Timeline

Submission Procedure

Candidates shall submit their CVs and research portfolio samples to emmat@carecinstitute.org before 18 September 2020.

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