World Chambers Congress

Digital Trade in spotlight 11th World Chambers Congress in Rio

  • 24 May 2019
World Chambers Congress

The 11th World Chambers Congress taking place in Rio next month will consider how digital transformation is changing the way that businesses operate and plan for the future

The world around us is constantly changing. New forms of digital technology have strengthened global connectivity, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Yet in some cases, business has not always been agile enough to adapt. World Chambers Congress participants from around the world will gather in Rio from 12-14 June, to discuss how forms of digital technology, like blockchain and online payments are shaping the way that business and chambers operate.

Adapting chambers of commerce to digital transformation

As digital technology continues to influence the decision making of business everywhere, chambers of commerce must be prepared to offer support, guidance and assistance to their respective members. In this age of unprecedented change, chambers of commerce must adapt their practices and operational strategies to ensure that business works for everyone, every day, everywhere.

The Congress will host a session entitled, “Adapting chambers of commerce to digital transformation,” to examine how new forms of digital technology can facilitate better communication between chambers and their members. Now, request forms and other important documents can be stored online, helping chambers to optimise their services. Instead of relying upon office visits, chambers can reach out to their membership bases through email campaigns, social media and other forms of technology.

Chambers will need to remain adaptable to the ever-changing demands of today’s global economy. With the ultimate goal of bringing clarity and certainty to business everywhere, chambers must be ready to provide services fit for the 21st century. Representatives from a wide selection of chambers will share how they are harnessing technology to improve services and strengthen membership.

The e-commerce revolution: making digital trade work for small business                                                        

New and emerging e-commerce platforms have also allowed for the expansion of marketplaces for micro-, small-, and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) everywhere. Whereas before, MSMEs were limited to their own traditional home markets, e-commerce has allowed business leaders to reach new markets and expand their operations globally. As a result of this recent e-commerce growth, the Congress will convene leaders from the world of technology, government, and chambers to address the challenges and opportunities presented by e-commerce.

E-commerce platforms, such as Amazon, Alibaba and Mercado Libre, have provided business and consumers with a centralised marketplace for digital trade. In most cases, business engagement with these platforms requires little in terms of resources or investment. These platforms are largely automated, which can help MSMEs reduce costs associated with employing additional retail staff.

These platforms have enormous potential for connecting MSMEs with marketplaces around the world, which will help expand consumer bases and invite opportunities to collaborate with similar enterprises. In short, e-commerce platforms enable MSMEs to contribute, collaborate and innovate as full participants of the global economy. At the same time, these platforms are appealing to consumers, as they provide a convenient way to shop. Unlike traditional retail stores, e-commerce platforms are open 24/7 and consumers can purchase goods in the comfort of their own homes.

Rethinking education: skills for the global economy of the future

As a result of globalisation and new forms of technology, workforce talent is becoming increasingly more competitive. Whether it’s knowledge of a programming language, like Python, or understanding the ramifications of new forms of legislation, such as General Data Protection Regulation GDPR, businesses must ensure that their employees are adequately prepared to work under the ever-changing conditions of today’s global economy.

To address the importance of workforce training, the Congress will feature a session on: “Rethinking education: skills for the global economy of the future”. In the past, business has relied upon universities and vocational schools to tailor qualified candidates. While these national education systems remain important, lifelong learning, or the process of continually skilling workforces, is just as crucial to business success. While technology is creating new jobs, many job functions are becoming obsolete, especially with the emergence of artificial intelligence.

Successful approaches to lifelong learning will ensure adaptability for the jobs of the future but will require commitment from both business and government leaders. The establishment of online training courses by higher education institutions at little or no cost is a step in the right direction. By committing to the education of citizens at all stages of their respective careers, governments can ensure the maintenance of a qualified workforce, well prepared to address the challenges of the 21st century global economy. At the same time, business must continue to nurture and develop their workforces.

Everything you wanted to know about blockchain but were afraid to ask

The world of blockchain is expanding rapidly. From cryptocurrencies to initial coin offerings – everyone is trying to wrap their heads around blockchain. Over the past two years, the valuation of bitcoin – a form of digital currency that uses blockchain technology – has fluctuated wildly. Many financial experts consider it to be the future; others see it as a fad.

Despite ambiguity, blockchain is gaining popularity among business leaders worldwide. Major banks, including JP Morgan, HSBC, Credit Suisse and Barclays, are already experimenting with blockchain to increase the efficiency of their services. Already, governments have formed partnerships to discuss potential of blockchain technology outside of the cryptocurrencies for sectors like agriculture, transport and healthcare.

At the Congress, participants will be given an opportunity to share their perspective on this growing phenomenon, during a session on: “Everything you wanted to know about blockchain but were too afraid to ask”. This session will provide a comprehensive overview of blockchain technology. Participants will consider how blockchain can help business overcome challenges today, as well as industry sectors that could benefit from the introduction of distributed ledger technology.

Other topics to be discussed at the World Chambers Congress

Co-hosted by ICC WCF and the Brazilian Confederation of Trade and Business Associations (CACB), the 11th World Chambers Congress will take place from 12-14 June in Rio de Janeiro. With only one month to go until this flagship event, ICC will be highlighting other topics of this year’s programme over the coming days. Please stay tuned for detailed descriptions on sessions ranging from climate change, trade facilitation and more.

To access the latest programme for ICC WCC on 12-14 June in Rio, please visit:

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