The Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba Group, and Ethiopia on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the creation of Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP), which is believed to be a game-changer initiative with the digital economy of the East African country.
The eWTP was proposed by Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, in 2016. It aims to set up an open platform for private enterprises and coordination among international organizations, governments and social groups which focus on the development of SMEs as well as trade. It was included in the communique of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou.
The documents of the MoU include eWTP framework, digital capacity building, and building comprehensive digital hub.
Witnessed by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, Tan Jina, and the founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, among other dignitaries, the agreement was signed by Ethiopia’s Minister of Innovation and Technology, Getahun Mekuria and Alibaba Group Director and Ant Financial Services Group Chairman and CEO, Jing Xiandong.
The Alibaba Group said it has keen interest to working with entrepreneurs and SMEs from Ethiopia and other African nations to seize the opportunities provided by the digital era.
Stating that Ethiopia would be the gateway to Africa to join the globalization because of the digital economy, Jack Ma said, “I believe in digital economy, and I believe in the small businesses in Ethiopia, young people in Ethiopia, entrepreneurs in Ethiopia will go to the world, will trade with the world, business with the world and partner with the world because of this digital economy.”
“The success of Ethiopia will not only inspire Ethiopian young people, it will also inspire the whole Africa to grasp the opportunities of digital economy,” he said.
Reiterating the huge role of the initiative in introducing best practices and helping access to varied information, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia said the initiative would enable his country to achieve its vision of becoming one of the top five African economies over the coming 10 years.
“The eWTP creates a fair playing ground for small and medium enterprises, enabling them to access information about export, about opportunities, access to trade and finance and logistics,” the premier has said.
“Taking eWTP as one of the e-commerce platforms, Ethiopia aims to facilitate the development of e-trade and the digital economy through the development of e-trade infrastructure and adoption of best practices,” said Ahmed, adding that the initiative is a game-changer.
Speaking on his part, Tan Jian, Ambassador of China to Ethiopia, noted that the initiative of the Alibaba Group would help Ethiopia address poverty, make efficient trade and improve business doing among others, giving new impetus to the ongoing rapid economic growth.