On Oct. 31, Alibaba Group and the government of Rwanda signed three Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. Alibaba plans to establish an electronic world trade platform (eWTP) hub in Rwanda.
The agreements are intended to strengthen the cooperation in support of Rwanda’s economic development by promoting policy innovation, enabling cross-border trade of Rwandan products to Chinese consumers, facilitating tourism to Rwanda, and providing support for Rwanda’s digital economy.
According to Alizila, the eWTP provides small and medium-sized enterprises with operational infrastructure, such as commerce logistics, cloud computing, mobile payments and skill training.
“The Electronic World Trade Platform opens up new frontiers in e-commerce and tourism for Rwanda, and will also boost the capacity and competitiveness of our entrepreneurs and businesspeople”, said President Paul Kagame. “Rwandan producers will be able to sell directly to a much larger set of customers than before, while bypassing costly intermediaries. This improves productivity and profitability. There are really no downsides to doing business on a global scale.”
“I am delighted that Rwanda is the first eWTP partner in Africa, and I look forward to the development of an innovative digital economy here,” said Mr. Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group. This was his second trip to Rwanda, and he was deeply impressed by the country’s rapid development. “Entrepreneurs in Rwanda, and elsewhere in Africa, are ready to seize the opportunities offered by the digital economy. It is up to all of us to help them succeed.”
Under the agreements, Alibaba will work with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to help Rwandan SMEs sell their products, including coffee and handicrafts, to Chinese consumers through Alibaba’s online marketplaces. Several brands of Rwandan single origin coffee are already available for sale on Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform.
Alibaba’s travel service platform, Fliggy, and the RDB will also work together to promote Rwanda as a tourist destination through a Rwanda Tourism Store for booking flights, hotels and customizing travel experiences. Through online video content, Chinese consumers can learn more about the country, especially its beautiful natural parks.
Alibaba will also continue to support Rwandan entrepreneurs through programs such as the eFounders Fellowship. Working with United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Alibaba is training 1,000 entrepreneurs from emerging markets in the upcoming five years, of which 200 will come from Africa. Five Rwandan entrepreneurs have already graduated from the eFounders Fellowship program.