Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba Group, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ethiopia for the creation of an Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP).
The deal will see the East African nation become the gateway for Africa to join globalization by e-commerce platforms, which will inspire the whole Africa to grasp the opportunities of the digital economy.
The signing of the MoU happened in Ethopia’s capital Addis Ababa, and was witnessed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Alibaba founder Jack Ma.
The eWTP aims to set up an open platform for private enterprises and coordination among international organizations, governments and social groups with a focus on the development of SMEs as well as trade.
The idea of the platform was first brought forward by Ma in 2016 and was included in the communique of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou.
Alibaba Group said it is keen on working with entrepreneurs and SMEs from Ethiopia and other African nations to seize the opportunities provided by the digital era.
“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,” Ma said.
“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 added.
On his part, PM Abiy said the eWTP would help boost SMEs’ prospects and create more opportunities.
“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 Prime Minister 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,” he added.
Various other dignitaries attended the signing ceremony of the MoU between Alibaba Group and Ethiopia, including Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, Tan Jian.