Alibaba To Promote Rwanda’s Economic Development

“The partnership between Rwanda and Alibaba will change people’s lives for the better. We are committed to leveraging the digital economy to support our exporters, local producers, and artisans," said RDB CEO, Clare Akamanzi.

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Stephanie Braconnier / Shutterstock.com
Stephanie Braconnier / Shutterstock.com

Today, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack
Ma signed three Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) establishing an eWTP (electronic world trade platform) hub in Rwanda.

The agreements are intended to strengthen 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 capacity building to empower the growth of Rwanda’s digital economy.

As a regional pioneer with a vision to create world-class digital infrastructure, Rwanda becomes the first country in Africa to establish an eWTP hub.

“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.

President of Rwanda Paul Kagame. Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock.com
President of Rwanda Paul Kagame. Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock.com

“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 really are no downsides to doing business on a global scale.”

The eWTP is a multi-stakeholder global initiative promoting public-private dialogue to foster a more effective and efficient policy and business environment to enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to participate in cross-border electronic trade.

“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 Jack Ma.

“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.”

: Sek Samyan / Shutterstock.com
Jack Ma. : Sek Samyan / Shutterstock.com

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.

With more than half a billion consumers, Alibaba is the world’s largest online commerce company and home to leading cross-border marketplaces where Chinese consumers look to find the highest quality products from around the world.

Several brands of Rwandan single origin coffee are already available for sale on Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform.

 zhu difeng / Shutterstock.com
Alibaba. zhu difeng / Shutterstock.com

Alibaba’s travel services 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 travel experiences and a Destination Pavilion where Chinese consumers can learn about visiting the country, including its beautiful natural parks, through engaging video content.

Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial will share expertise in inclusive financial tools, such as mobile payments, to support the Rwandan digital economy.

“The partnership between Rwanda and Alibaba will change people’s lives for the better. We are committed to leveraging the digital economy to support our exporters, local producers, and artisans,” said RDB CEO, Clare Akamanzi.

“We have already seen tremendous attention from Chinese consumers on Alibaba’s platforms in high-quality Rwandan products such as our top-tier single estate coffee, and we are confident that local products and travel experiences will continue to receive interest and support from the more than half a billion consumers on Alibaba’s platforms.”

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