Alibaba Group has launched a four-year training program for Rwandan students to learn cross-border e-commerce.
The e-commerce giant also extended its partnership with Rwanda while also agreeing to import additional Rwandan products to China.
The Rwanda Development Board, which oversees investments in the country’s economy, in an updated memorandum of understanding, agreed to continue its membership in the Electronic World Trade Platform for another three years. Rwanda was the first African country to join the eWTP, an Alibaba-led initiative that aims to lower barriers to global trade for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) via e-commerce.
In addition, Alibaba Business School signed a memorandum with the RDB to start an undergraduate program that will train students in international business and cross-border e-commerce to support the development of skills relevant to growing the sector in Rwanda. Twenty-two students are expected for the incoming class, starting on September, 20 of which will be fully funded by Higher Education Council of Rwanda and Alibaba. Alibaba’s New Retail-powered supermarket chain, Freshippo, also signed a memorandum with the RDB, agreeing to import Rwandan chili to its 150 self-operated stores in China.
The signing ceremony took place at the China (Zhejiang)-Rwanda Digital Economy Development and Cooperation Forum, 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.
“We are hoping that through our continuous effort, cross-sector synergy and public-private collaboration will be cultivated through the respective programs and will continue to drive actions towards the goal of an inclusive digital economy,” he said.
Wong pointed to the 40 Rwandan entrepreneurs who have received training through the eFounders’ Fellowship and Netpreneur program, as well as the 12 Rwandan government delegates that attended the New Economy Workshop.
Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma first visited Africa in 2017, later saying he was impressed by the country’s young entrepreneurs and local businesses and pledged to support the growth of the digital economy in Africa.
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