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Ethiopia Launches the Second Electronic World Trade Platform in Africa

Electronic World Trade Platform _ Ethiopia _ Africa
PM ABiy Ahmed and Jack Ma. Photo credit : OPM

By Barnabas Shiferaw
November 27, 2019

Addis Ababa – On November 25, 2019, an electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) was launched in Addis Ababa with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Alibaba Group co-founder Jack Ma present. At the launch, FDRE Ministry of Innovation and Technology and Alibaba Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to the establishment of eWTP hub. 

The eWTP initiative was proposed by Jack Ma, former Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group. It aims to promote public-private dialogue to foster a more effective and efficient policy and business environment to enable small and medium-sized enterprises to participate in cross-border electronic trade.

It works to bring efforts of international entities such as WTO, UNCTAD and etc. around eTrade together and to bring the perspectives of the diverse sets of private and public constituencies, e.g. small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), regulatory entities, vendors, consumer associations, industry associations, business intermediary organizations, and enable these parties to assess existing regulations and best practices, and incubate and advocate rules to foster eTrade. 

It also creates direct access to international customers and highly efficient digitized flows of products, data and money, especially for SMEs.

Ethiopia’s Minister of Innovation and Technology, Getahun Mekuria stated, “Establishment in Ethiopia will help the country to provide a better logistics and services that could enable the nation to penetrate the global market with its export products.” 

He added that “this is a great move to transform the market, especially our cross-border trades, targeting SMEs and helping them easily access the global markets. It will also serve as a center of excellence in training young entrepreneurs.”

At the launch, the Prime Minister Abiy explained the benefits the hub will have for SMEs and how it can support Ethiopia’s efforts to become one of the five African middle-income countries within ten years’ time. 

Jack Ma also stressed the increasing importance of digitizing one’s economy. He expressed his appreciation of Ethiopia’s endeavors in the sector and the lead it is taking in Africa in this respect. 

He further expressed his belief that “the small business in Ethiopia and its young people will help to flourish the digital market in the country in the near future.” He also agreed to consider potential investments in Ethiopia that will impact the youth and pledged the support of 10 to 100 million USD to hold up entrepreneurship in Africa.

The eWTP is the second to be launched in Africa. Rwanda launched the first eWTP a year ago, in October 2018. 

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