Alibaba Business School Launches eCommerce Training Program For Universities In Rwanda

By  |  August 25, 2018

In a move that further underlines its commitment to grooming the next generation of global entrepreneurs, the Alibaba Business School has launched the Global eCommerce Talent (GET) initiative; a program designed for educators in Rwanda.

The GET initiative is a  “train-the-trainers” program that is targeted at Rwandan university teachers intending to bringing them up to speed with the underlying concepts and mechanisms governing today’s eCommerce industry. The week-long course which highlighted the launching of the program featured discussions which revolved around such details as the digital economy, the establishment of businesses, risk management, as well as customer acquisition.

The launching of the program in Africa is the first of its kind in Africa, and it is coming in the wake of similar programs that have been launched in Malaysia and Thailand by the group. The program’s goal is to equip the individuals who are saddled with the responsibility of nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs to impart them with the capacity with which they can raise digital talents and future entrepreneurs that can go on to become world-beaters.

The first African leg of the GET program was the result of concerted efforts between the Alibaba Business School, the Rwandan Ministry of Education Higher Education Council, as well as the Rwanda Development Board (RDB). The University of Rwanda played host as the program’s launch drew attendance from fifty lectures spread across nine of the East African nation’s top universities.

Brian Wong, Vice President of the Alibaba Global Initiatives, who was standing in for the Alibaba Business School in Rwanda, expressed the group’s gratitude to the Rwandan government for what he called their “trust in the value that Alibaba Business School brings to its students and the local entrepreneurs.”

He also reiterated the company’s commitment to fostering eCommerce education, as well as the development of skill sets that have the potential to bring the country’s vision of becoming Africa’s digital hub to fruition. Wong also rendered his voice in favor of the drive of the Alibaba Group to further the growth of a generation of talented and passionate young entrepreneurs who can be the vehicles for innovation and the economic emancipation of the country.

The GET program launch in Rwanda can be considered the first piece of a larger jigsaw puzzle whose end-game is to unite the country with the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP). The eWTP, as a multi-stakeholder initiative, is geared towards facilitating the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in global trade and the development of the digital economy.

Jack Ma, Founder and CEO of the Alibaba Group, is known to be a proponent of the initiative and the brain behind the idea which is now gaining traction, as it has been recognized by the G20, as well as the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and countries like Belgium and Malaysia. The launch of the eWTP in Rwanda – the first of such a move in Africa – is believed to have been one of the resolutions of a meeting between the Chinese billionaire and President Paul Kagame, which took place in Davos last January. Formal announcements as regards the launch of the initiative by the Alibaba Group in Rwanda are also believed to be imminent.

Rwanda’s history with the Alibaba Group kicked off with last summer’s visit of the CEO to Africa – in what was his very first trip to the continent –  where he met with the Rwandan President in Kigali, in addition to a stopover in Kenya. On this visit, Ma had pledged his commitment to work with African universities and governments to bring about the establishment of a training program for eCommerce, payments, logistics, and analytics; items which he described as “critical skills for doing business in the digital age.” And that pledge could be thought to have prompted the recent launch of this training program.

In the wake of the development, Diane Sayinzoga, Head of Rwanda’s Special Economic Zone and Exports Department, expressed confidence at the program’s ability to train the individuals who will, in turn, bring about the development of an eCommerce ecosystem that is sustainable, whilst providing necessary support to small businesses in the country.

The program has also set its sights on offering insights into the mechanisms of doing business with China, in addition to imparting knowledge on the fundamentals of running a digital business. It featured instructors from the Alibaba ecosystem – all expert trainers with extensive eCommerce business experience – who fed the participating educators with vital information on the best practices when it comes to doing business in the Chinese market.

The GET program is expected to go some way towards helping Rwanda achieve its vision of creating more jobs and improving the nation’s overall economy in the near future.


Image SourceTechGistAfrica

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