Project Profile

DEMD: New Solutions for the Digital Economy

Project Name

Digital Economy and Market Development (DEMD)


USAID Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment, Office of Trade and Regulatory Reform (E3/TRR)

Prime Contractor


Partner Organizations

Nathan Associates, Inc.



Time Period

October 2019-October 2022 (Option Years: 2023-2024)


Digital commerce is a central and growing feature of the global economy. But in the world’s least-developed countries—where four out of five people are not online—a dynamic digital economy is not yet in reach. Global internet access is constrained by inadequate physical infrastructure, policy and legal barriers, lack of investment, and a lack of political will. Without reliable internet access, companies in emerging and frontier markets cannot sell their products online, and entrepreneurs—especially women and members of other disadvantaged groups—face numerous constraints to accessing digital services.

Advancing a digitally-enabled global marketplace is a critical step toward a more equitable global economy – one that offers significant economic and social benefits for all.


Under the direction of the USAID Office of Trade and Regulatory Reform (TRR), Resonance is leading the Digital Economy and Market Development (DEMD) activity to support USAID worldwide in tackling challenges related to the digital economy, trade capacity building, private sector development, and business enabling environment.

Over five years, DEMD will drive thought leadership and implement cutting-edge pilot activities – generating best practices and disseminating lessons learned for e-commerce, trade facilitation, and technology adoption. Focus areas range from barriers to women’s participation in trade and the digital economy; governmental transparency and accountability in business regulation; legal and regulatory barriers to women’s wage employment; and helping developing countries identify and prioritize needs and opportunities for e-commerce development. Throughout, we leverage our deep bench of technical experts and our international private sector partners.

DEMD’s services include:

  • Short-term activity support and technical assistance for USAID teams designing and implementing programs related to digital economy and trade.
  • Assessments, analyses, and diagnostics to advance research and learning on DEMD focus areas or to inform targeted activities or partnerships.
  • Communications and knowledge management to share best practices, lessons learned, and success stories to shape current and future trade and digital economy efforts.
  • In-person and virtual training for USAID staff and partners worldwide on practical skills and cutting-edge approaches for DEMD focus areas.
  • Monitoring & evaluation to help USAID teams track, learn from, and adaptively manage digital economy and trade interventions.

Key Activities and Results

  • DEMD trained 23 USAID staff from 17 USAID Missions and Bureaus in evidence-based approaches to create jobs and increase employment. One hundred percent of respondents to the feedback survey said they would recommend the training to others.

    • As part of the training, we developed five case studies on economic growth trends, sector development, and labor market conditions in Cambodia, Honduras, Jordan, Kosovo, and Nigeria.

  • As USAID, host governments, companies, and civil society grapple with fast-evolving issues related to digital economy, trade, and economic development, it is critical that they have access to practical guidance to apply global best practice and lessons learned. DEMD is developing a series of actionable digital trade briefers, incorporating case studies from developing countries. These briefers will be widely distributed to USAID teams worldwide, offering up to date insights to shape the design and implementation of digital economy and trade activities.

  • The United States is the largest single-country provider of trade capacity building (TCB) assistance in the world. This assistance—also referred to as “aid for trade”—helps developing countries better engage in the global trading system and harness trade as an engine of growth and development. DEMD is developing a series of fact sheets for selected “aid for trade” projects to showcase the depth, breadth, and geographic scope of USAID assistance, and to feature success stories that illustrate the impact and results of these efforts.

  • In the rapidly changing landscape of COVID-19, knowledge is power. DEMD is helping USAID/TRR analyze and promote potential responses to the pandemic’s global economic fallout. On a weekly basis, DEMD compiles, analyzes, and summarizes the latest thinking on the anticipated economic impacts of COVID-19, along with developments related to government and private sector interventions.

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