Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma has said he set up an electronic world trade platform (eWTP) in Rwanda because the tiny East African nation and its leaders are action-oriented.
The Chinese billionaire traveled to Rwanda in November where he launched an electronic world trade platform (eWTP) that will enable Rwandan products to be sold in the Chinese market and boost cross-border trade.
“It’s a great honour for myself and Alibaba to be able to partner with Rwanda. People ask me, why Rwanda? There are so many countries in Africa. It’s so difficult we have a lot of criteria to pick a country to be an eWTP hub. My answer is why not Rwanda?” Forbes Africa quotes Ma as saying at the launch of the hub at the Kigali Convention Centre.
“When I first came here, I was shocked by its safety, cleanliness and by its power to embrace change. Last year was my maiden visit to Africa, I realized that it is so different from what I thought. I said if every country in Africa was like Rwanda, how powerful Africa would be,” he added.
“Rwanda is making things happen. Most countries talk about supporting small businesses, young people, farmers but very few of them take action… This is why we came here. When other people complain, we take that as a great opportunity. What impressed us is not only the products you have but also the government’s efficiency.”
Products sold on the platform will initially be handicrafts and coffee, which is Rwanda’s third biggest foreign exchange earner after mining and tourism.
The platform presents an opportunity for Rwanda’s coffee producers to access the Chinese market whose coffee consumption is growing at 15% per annum.
On eWTP, Rwandan coffee farmers will be receiving $12 per $16 sold, which is significantly higher compared to other markets like the US where they normally get $8 per $16 sold.
The deal will also attract high- spending Chinese tourists.