Deal with Alibaba to open markets

Sunday April 09 2023
Jack Ma

Alibaba founder Jack Ma in Bangkok on April 18, 2018. PHOTO | AFP


More Rwandan enterprises are set to enjoy access to external markets, thanks to another co-operation agreement government signed with Chinese e-commerce giant Ali-

The deal will allow 20 Rwandan SMEs to open online stores on, joining others who have been tradin on the platform since 2018 when the first eWTP (Electronic World Trade Platform) deal was signed.

This agreement means Rwandan products made by these enterprises will reach more than half a billion Alibaba subscribers. Locally made products like Akabanga made by Sina Gerald, Gorilla coffee and other products are already enjoying traction on Alibaba, with customers who have used them giving very positive reviews.

Other less-known branded products like the chilli sauce Handflower Volcano Chili, have also been listed on the Hema platform, doubling the income of local pepper farmers.

In addition, Rwanda's speciality coffee has also landed on Tmall Global, and local farmers can now earn $4 more than before for every kilogram of coffee sold.

The 20 Rwandan companies are already working with Alibaba technicians to complete the digitization process e-commerce platform.


According to the latest memorandum of understanding which has been sighed, Rwandan enterprises will be directly onboard on and Alibaba will provide comprehensive e-commerce operation guidance they can be onboarded on the e-commerce and a full range of supporting services to Rwandan SMEs.

For instance, it will help with support in shop design, training and advisory on how to work on the Alibaba platform, and how to use its advanced operation tools to help them to establish online stores, select suitable products and optimise store operations.

"This co-operation will not only help Rwandan local enterprises to improve the sales and exports of their products but also facilitate their digital transformation," said Zhang Entao, Deputy General Manager of the Global Gold Supplier Department at Alibaba.

Alibaba Global Initiative and Global Digital Talent Programme have trained 40 entrepreneurs in Rwanda in recent years and provided cross-border e-commerce training to six Rwandan universities.