KIGALI, Rwanda — Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of the Alibaba Group, attended a launch event to unveil the first electronic world trade platform on the African continent.
“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 Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group. “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.”
“People ask me, ‘Why Rwanda? There are so many countries in Africa,’” Ma continued. “When I first came to Rwanda, I was shocked by its ability to embrace change. If every country was like Rwanda, think how powerful Africa could be. My answer is, ‘Why not Rwanda?’”
The new electronic platform will enable small- and medium-sized enterprises to participate in cross-border electronic trade, and aims to promote trade and tourism between Rwandan and Chinese consumers.
— Rwanda Development (@RDBrwanda) 31 oktober 2018
As part of the collaboration, Alibaba also pledged to work with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the National Agricultural Export Development Board to help the country’s SMEs sell their products, including coffee and handicrafts, to Chinese consumers through Alibaba’s online marketplaces such as Tmall Global, a platform of over half a billion consumers.
Several brands of Rwandan single-origin coffee are already on sale on the platform. In just a few days after the launch, over 1,000 bags of Rwanda coffee beans were sold.
Tmall Global is also running an educational campaign called “Tear Off the Label for Africa” — to strip away the traditional view on African and products from the continent — to raise Chinese consumers awareness of Rwanda products. The campaign has already boosted Chinese consumers’ interest in Rwandan coffee by 200%, Tmall Global said.