Alibaba Business School launches eCommerce training programme for Rwandan Universities
By Rolex Owino
In a move that further underlines its commitment to grooming the next generation of global entrepreneurs, the Alibaba Business School has launched the Global eCommerce Talent (GET) initiative – a programme designed for educators in Rwanda.
The GET initiative is a “train-the-trainers” programme that is meant to train Rwandan university teachers on the underlying concepts and mechanisms that govern the contemporary eCommerce industry.
The weeklong course, which highlighted the launching of the programme – featured discussions that revolved around issues touching on the digital economy, the establishment of businesses, risk management, as well as customer acquisition.
The launching of the programme in Africa is the first of its kind, and it is coming in the wake of similar programmes that have been launched in Malaysia and Thailand by the group. The programme’s goal is to provide requisite skills to the individuals who are endowed with the responsibility of nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs.
The first African leg of the GET programme was the result of concerted efforts between the Alibaba Business School, the Rwandan Ministry of Education Higher Education Council, as well as the Rwanda Development Board (RDB). The University of Rwanda acted as the host institution, whereby the programme’s launch was attended by fifty lectures – spread across nine of the country’s top universities.
Brian Wong, Vice President of the Alibaba Global Initiatives, who was representing the Alibaba Business School in Rwanda, expressed the group’s gratitude to the Rwandan government for what he called – their “trust in the value that Alibaba Business School brings to its students and local entrepreneurs.”
He also reiterated the company’s commitment to fostering eCommerce education, as well as the development of the necessary skill-sets that have the potential to realise the country’s vision of becoming Africa’s digital hub.
The GET programme launch in Rwanda can be considered as a pioneering initiative, with the objective of connecting the country to the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP). The eWTP, is a multi-stakeholder initiative that is geared towards facilitating the participation of Small & Medium-sized enterprises – in global trade and the development of the digital economy.
Jack Ma, Founder and CEO of the Alibaba Group, is known to be a proponent of the initiative and the brain behind the idea, which is now gaining traction, as it has been recognized by the G20, as well as the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and countries like Belgium and Malaysia. The launch of the eWTP in Rwanda, a pioneering initiative in Africa – is believed to have been one of the resolutions of a meeting between the Chinese billionaire and President Paul Kagame, which took place in Davos last January. Formal announcements as regards the launch of the initiative by the Alibaba Group in Rwanda are also believed to be fast approaching.
Rwanda’s history with the Alibaba Group kicked off with last summer’s visit of the CEO to Africa – in what was his very first trip to the continent, where he met with the Rwandan President in Kigali, in addition to a stopover in Kenya. During his visit, Mr. Ma pledged his commitment to work with African universities and governments to bring about the establishment of a training program for eCommerce, payments, logistics, and analytics. He described these efforts as “critical skills for doing business in the digital age.”
In the wake of these developments, Diane Sayinzoga, Head of Rwanda’s Special Economic Zone and Exports Department, expressed confidence of the programme’s ability to compellingly train targeted individuals, who will as a result – facilitate the development of an eCommerce ecosystem that is sustainable, whilst providing vital support to small businesses in the country.
The program has also set its sights on offering insights into the mechanisms of doing business with China, in addition to imparting knowledge on the fundamentals of running a digital business. It comprises instructors from the Alibaba ecosystem – all of whom are expert trainers with extensive eCommerce business experience. They furnished the participating educators with vital information pertaining to best practice – as relates to doing business in the Chinese market.
The GET programme is expected to significantly assist Rwanda in achieving its vision of creating more jobs, and improving the nation’s overall economic development trajectory.
Source: African Strategic-Ventures (ASV) & Weetracker.