‘If there’s no logistics, let’s build logistics. If there’s no payment, let’s build payments. We take this as a great opportunity.’
Jack Ma speaking in Kigali on 31 October 2018
Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba, received a warm welcome of applause as he made his way to the stage at his official Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) launch in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali. The platform is designed to ‘level the playing field’ for small and medium-sized businesses by offering them a way to sell to customers around the globe. It is no coincidence that Rwanda was selected for the launch – it is fully embracing the opportunities that e-commerce has to offer.
The objective of eWTP is to create a ‘more effective and efficient policy and business environment for cross border electronic trade (eTrade) development’. It offers small and medium-sized companies ‘infrastructure for electronic fulfilment, including marketing, logistics, cloud computing and mobile payments.’
- eWTP will enable Rwanda’s small businesses to trade worldwide, bringing the likes of their prized single estate coffee and handcrafts to the global market
- Alibaba will promote tourism in Rwanda using a dedicated Tourism Store, where customers can book holiday packages, flights and hotels
- President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, says it will improve profitability and productivity for Rwanda’s businesses, urging its entrepreneurs to take advantage of eWTP technology.
In his speech, Jack stressed the importance of preparing for the future: ‘Trade is changing because of technology,’ he said. ‘Any young person, any small business can use a mobile phone to global buy, global sell, global deliver and global pay. We have to prepare for the future. […] Let’s build up a system that can support 80% of countries, especially developing countries and poor countries. Let’s support young people. Let’s support small businesses: they can benefit from globalisation.’
Jack said that some trade had already been tested on the eWTP: ‘A farmer picks up $8 for coffee, USA sells it for $16. But through the eWTP – we’ve tested it – a farmer can collect $12. Consumers are happy, farmers are happy.’ Among the audience was President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, who urged everyone to take full advantage of the technology.
Watch Jack Ma’s launch of the eWTP in the video>>