Ethiopia inks pacts for Alibaba-led eWTP to promote barrier-free trade
The Ethiopian government has signed three agreements with Alibaba Group to join the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP).
November 26, 2019: The Ethiopian government has signed three agreements with Alibaba Group to join the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP), an Alibaba-led initiative that aims to lower barriers to global trade for small and medium-sized enterprises through e-commerce.
The eWTP hub, the second in Africa after Rwanda, will serve as a gateway for Ethiopian products to China and new markets, as well as offer support in smart logistics and fulfillment, and talent training, the e-commerce giant said.
The agreements were signed at a ceremony attended by Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed; Getahun Mekuria, minister of innovation and technology; Jack Ma, founder of Jack Ma Foundation and partner of Alibaba Group; Eric Jing, Alibaba group director and financial services group chairman & CEO; Takele Uma, Addis Ababa deputy mayor, among others.
Speaking during the ceremony, Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma said that Ethiopia needed the four "Es" in order to connect its economy with global markets: education, e-government, e-frastructure, and entrepreneurs.
"Today's signing of the Ethiopia eWTP Hub is an important step in the development of a digital economy in Ethiopia," said Mekuria. "This engagement will greatly contribute to trade facilitation and open markets to SMEs not only in Ethiopia but in the wider region."
Speaking at the event, Ahmed remarked, "Electronic trade platform is part of Ethiopia's technological development [and is] a step forward to making Ethiopia among the five economic giants of Africa within the coming decade. It also expands the horizon for small and medium enterprises."
Mekuria on his part said that "this engagement will greatly contribute to trade facilitation and open markets to SMEs not only in Ethiopia but in the wider region. It is an important step in the development of a digital economy in Ethiopia."
"It is an honor to partner with the government of Ethiopian to establish the Electronic World Trade platform Ethiopia Hub," said Jing.
According to a statement from PMO, "eWTP Ethiopia will have advanced technology, infrastructure, and services, as well as a customised regulatory framework intended to promote innovation in trade and the digital economy."
China Commodities City International (CCCI) will partner with Alibaba in the development of the eWTP Hub. The Alibaba Business School (ABS) will implement the capacity building and training portion of the partnership which consists of a number of programs including specialised programmes for Ethiopian entrepreneurs, business leaders, and university lectures. ABS has already offered similar programmes as part of the eWTP partnership with Rwanda, with training held in Kigali and at Alibaba headquarters in Hangzhou.
Since it was first proposed by Ma in 2016, the eWTP has been recognised by the G20, as well as adopted by China, Malaysia, Rwanda, and Belgium. Alibaba expects that trade between the hubs will increase as the number of eWTP hubs increases.