Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma have committed to three Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) to effectively establish an eWTP (electronic world trade platform) hub in Rwanda.
According to a statement issued by the Alibaba Group, the agreements pave the way for policy innovation, enabling cross-border trade of Rwandan products to Chinese consumers, facilitating tourism to Rwanda, and providing capacity building to support the African country's digital economy.
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 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 really are no downsides to doing business on a global scale."
Ma 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. 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, according to the partners.
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.
Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial will share expertise in inclusive financial tools, such as mobile payments, to support the Rwandan digital economy.
Alibaba will also continue to support Rwandan entrepreneurs through programs such as the eFounders Fellowship.
In partnership with UNCTAD, Alibaba is training 1,000 entrepreneurs from emerging markets over five years. Two hundred of those entrepreneurs will come from Africa. Five Rwandan entrepreneurs have already graduated from the eFounders Fellowship program.