Alibaba launches electronic platform to help Rwandan SMEs sell their products online

  • November 5, 2018

Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Chinese conglomerate Ali Baba’s Executive Chairman Jack Ma recently launched the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) Africa, a partnership that will enable Rwandan products to be sold on Alibaba’s e-commerce network.

eWTP is a private sector-led and multi-stakeholder initiative, for public-private dialogue to incubate eTrade rules and foster a more efficient policy and business environment for cross border electronic trade.

In his remarks, President Kagame welcomed the partnership which is set to boost Rwanda’s e-commerce and tourism sectors while enabling Rwandan entrepreneurs to have access to the global market.

“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 business people. 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. Put differently, there really are no downsides to doing business on a global scale,” President Kagame said.

The President further challenged Rwandan companies to take full advantage of the technology and produce high-quality goods that customers want to buy and to ensure consistent supply.

President Kagame said the Government of Rwanda will continue to do its part to promote innovation by guaranteeing a conducive business and regulatory climate, as he referred to the 2019 World Bank Doing Business report released on Wednesday. The report ranked Rwanda as the 29th most business-friendly country in the world up from 41st last year, being the only low-income country in top 100.

The first of its kind on the continent, the launch of eWTP also saw the signing of three key Memoranda of Understanding between the Government of Rwanda and Alibaba.

Under the eWTP agreement, Alibaba Group will work with the RDB to help Rwandan SMEs sell their products, including coffee and handicrafts, to Chinese consumers through Alibaba’s online marketplaces.

Alibaba Group 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. Alibaba Group is also committed to providing capacity building to academics, policy makers and entrepreneurs on how to grow a digital economy.

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