The government of Rwanda has signed three Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with leading international online commerce company, Alibaba establishing an electronic world trade platform (eWTP) hub in the small East African nation.
The agreements aim 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 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.
“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 Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, who witnessed the signing with Alibaba Group Executive Chairman, Jack Ma.
“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,” he added.
“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.
“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,” he continued.
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.
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.