Alibaba founder Jack Ma in Kigali
China’s e-commerce billionaire and Alibaba Group founder, Jack Ma, is expected in Kigali today to launch a number of initiatives on which his firm will partner with Rwanda.
According to Alizila, Alibaba Group’s news platform, one of the major announcements expected to be made is the launch of the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP).
eWTP is a multi-stakeholder initiative that seeks to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises to participate in global trade and contribute to the development of the digital economy.
The idea was conceptualised by Jack Ma and gained recognition by the G20 countries, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and countries such as Malaysia and Belgium.
Alibaba Global Initiatives Vice President, Brian Wong, told Alizila in August that, during a meeting in Davos this year, Ma and President Paul Kagame agreed to launch eWTP in Africa for the first time.
“A formal announcement about the initiative in Rwanda, which will include capacity building, e-commerce and tourism, is expected “soon,” he is quoted as having said recently.
In several interviews, Ma has always indicated that such a platform could reduce barriers and make it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to expand their trading capabilities worldwide.
Some have touted the platform as the online version of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) – an organisation mandated to set global trade rules.
This is Ma’s second trip to Rwanda following his 2017 trip where he attended the YouthConnekt Africa Summit.
His last visit saw him make announcements, including a $10 million pledge towards supporting African e-commerce young entrepreneurs. Rwanda has been among the beneficiaries of this programme known as the eFounders Fellowship.
Ma’s Alibaba Business School this year launched its Global E-commerce Talent (GET) programme, in Rwanda, aimed at deepening the understanding of the e-commerce industry among university lecturers.
According to Alibaba Group, the GET programme was the first piece of a broader cooperation to bring the Electronic World Trade Platform initiative to Rwanda.