China’s richest man and Executive Chair of the Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, is stepping up his romance with Africa.
For some time now, the billionaire has been talking up investments in Africa, and Rwanda appears to be at the centre of it all.
Last July, the Alibaba Group hosted several African founders in Hangzhou, China. These African entrepreneurs were offered intensive business training through the eFounders’ Fellowship and Netpreneur program sponsored by the Alibaba Business School.
Also, in 2018, Rwanda became the first African country to join the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP); an Alibaba-led initiative that seeks to eliminate, or at least, lower barriers to global trade for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) via e-commerce.
And the Group has taken things up a notch once again. The Alibaba Group has now launched a four-year training program for Rwandan students to learn cross-border e-commerce.
Per the new agreement, twenty-two (22) Rwandan students will be heading to the Alibaba Group base in Hangzhou, China, later this month, to begin their 4-year program.
The e-commerce giant also announced an extension of its partnership with Rwanda while also agreeing to import additional Rwandan products to China. For starters, Alibaba’s supermarket chain, Freshippo, has signed a memorandum with Rwanda to import Rwandan chili to its 150 self-operated stores in China.
All these details were contained in a statement where the Alibaba Group revealed that the new agreement was reached and a new MoU signed in a ceremony that took place at the China (Zhejiang)-Rwanda Digital Economy Development and Cooperation Forum.
The ceremony was attended by the Governor of Zhejiang Province, CEO of the RDB, Rwanda Minister of Trade and Industry (MINICOM), and SMEs from Zhejiang Province and Rwanda.
“We’ve seen great momentum through our collaboration with the Rwanda Development Board to provide capacity-building to all key stakeholders who are drivers of the digital economy,” said Alibaba Vice President of Global Initiatives Brian Wong.
According to the statement, the updated MoU will continue for another three years. As part of the provisions of the extended partnership, Alibaba Business School will start an undergraduate program that will train students in International Business and Cross-Border eCommerce to foster cross-border e-commerce in the country.
The Alibaba-Rwanda ‘affair’ has seen a total of 40 Rwandan entrepreneurs receive training through the eFounders’ Fellowship and Netpreneur program. Also, another 12 Rwandan government delegates have benefitted from the annual New Economy Workshop put together by the Alibaba Group.
Featured Image Courtesy: China Daily