The e-commerce giant also announced an extension of its partnership with Rwanda while also agreeing to import additional Rwandan products to China.
In a statement made available to Business Insider SSA on Saturday, Alibaba Group said the signing ceremony took place at the China (Zhejiang)-Rwanda Digital Economy Development and Cooperation Forum, attended by the Governor of Zhejiang Province, CEO of the RDB, Rwanda Minister of Trade and Industry (MINICOM), and SMEs from Zhejiang Province and Rwanda.
The updated memorandum of understanding will continue for another three years, according to the statement.
Rwanda was the first African country 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 (SMEs) via e-commerce.
Under the extended partnership, Alibaba Business School will start an undergraduate program that will train students in International Business and Cross-Border eCommerce to support cross-border e-commerce in the country. 22 Rwandan students will be headed to Alibaba’s hometown of Hangzhou, China to begin their 4-year program later in September.
Also, Alibaba’s New Retail-powered supermarket chain, Freshippo, also signed a memorandum with the RDB, agreeing to import Rwandan chili to its 150 self-operated stores in China.
“We’ve seen great momentum through our collaboration with the Rwanda Development Board to provide capacity-building to all key stakeholders who are drivers of the digital economy,” said Alibaba Vice President of Global Initiatives Brian Wong.
Wong pointed to the 40 Rwandan entrepreneurs who have received training through the eFounders’ Fellowship and Netpreneur program, as well as the 12 Rwandan government delegates that attended the New Economy Workshop.
“We are hoping that through our continuous effort, cross-sector synergy and public-private collaboration will be cultivated through the respective programs and will continue to drive actions towards the goal of an inclusive digital economy,” he said.