Rwanda Development Board (RDB) yesterday met a 16-member delegation from Alibaba as they seek to bolster trade between Rwanda and China.
RDB said in a statement that the visit by Alibaba is a follow up to the Electronic World Trade Platformme (eWTP) agreement that was signed by President Paul Kagame and Alibaba Group’s Executive Chairman, Jack Ma in October last year.
The delegation has been in the country for the past week, meeting different government and private sector officials, RDB said.
“The discussions cantered on supporting Rwandan entrepreneurs to export more agro-products to China such as beef, crayfish, avocados, chili pepper, french beans, tree tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables” the statement reads in part.
This, the statement said, would be done by streamlining the intergovernmental policies and regulations, being part of the agricultural supply chain process, providing the necessary infrastructure to boost agro-processing, lowering the cost of air-freight transport and providing more trainings to Rwandan entrepreneurs to enable them trade more product volumes on the platform
Claire Akamanzi, the CEO of RDB, said: “China presents a huge market for us, with its big population and their increasing spending power.”
There are unique and big opportunities we are exploring and implore Rwandan SMEs to package their products in a way that suits the Chinese market and sell as much as possible through the Alibaba platform, she added.
Alibaba Group Vice President, Hou Yi, who led the delegation, said that: “We found that many of Rwanda’s agricultural products are of high quality, hence why we want to increase their volumes and (improve their) standards, invest in agro-processing industries and the supply chain.”
Hou added that: “We also want to raise more crayfish here because Rwanda has many fresh water lakes and a favourable climate. The crayfish market is a US$20 billion one in China and Chinese consume between 1 and 1.2 tonnes of crayfish every four months. Therefore, as soon as we have the right policies and regulations in place and infrastructure and affordable air-freight, we can start exporting more Rwandan products.”