Can Addis Ababa become a hub of global e-commerce on the continent? This is certainly the ambition displayed by the Ethiopian authorities when the country has just signed an agreement with Jack Ma, one of the richest men in China and boss of the Alibaba group.
At the ceremony on Monday, which formalized the agreement, the Ethiopian Prime Minister was enthusiastic about the initiative and pledged to support the project. « Ethiopia, with Jack Ma and Alibaba, will make this vision a reality. As I promised Jack this morning, I will be the project manager for Alibaba’s investments in Ethiopia. I will be a seller for the continent, « promised the Ethiopian leader.
Ethiopian coffee in sight
This agreement, based on products made in Ethiopia, especially coffee, could stimulate economic activities, technological investments and entrepreneurship in Ethiopia.
« You have a great product, but what the Ethiopian should do is change the way coffee is sold. We should sell coffee directly to millions and millions of consumers. In the past, coffee was sent in containers. In the future, any consumer, anywhere in the world, can buy Ethiopian coffee online using a mobile phone and can be delivered in 72 hours or less. And then the farmers will be happy, consumers will be happy. The fewer distributors there are, the more the intermediary will be cramped, « said the boss of Alibaba.
In 2018, the Jack Ma Foundation launched the Netpreneur Award, for leading African entrepreneurs. The award will provide $ 10 million to 100 African entrepreneurs over a ten year period through local innovation, economic empowerment of women and small businesses.