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ETHIOPIA: Agreements to Boost Trade Signed with Alibaba and Chinese Customs

In recent weeks, the Ethiopian government has taken a number of measures to boost trade with China. It has signed three memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with global e-commerce firm Alibaba for the establishment of an Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) in the country. The MoUs cover capacity building, a training centre and a comprehensive digital hub.

The eWTP is an Alibaba-led, multi-stakeholder global initiative that promotes public-private collaboration to support global trade through the use of technology. It also encourages policy innovation to provide greater opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), women and youth. Ethiopia’s eWTP will provide a digital platform for cross-border trade; provide smart logistics and fulfilment services; assist Ethiopian SMEs to trade with China and other markets; and provide talent training.

China Commodities City International will partner with Alibaba in the development of the digital hub, while the Alibaba Business School will implement the capacity building and training portion of the partnership, which will provide a number of programmes including those for developing Ethiopian entrepreneurs and business leaders, and supporting university lectures.

In attendance at the signing ceremony in Addis Ababa on 25 November 2019 were Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed; Alibaba Group Founder, Jack Ma and Alibaba Group Director and Ant Financial Services Group Chairman and CEO, Eric Jing. Prime Minister Ahmed said: “eWTP Ethiopia will have advanced technology, infrastructure and services, as well as a customised regulatory framework intended to promote innovation in trade and the digital economy.”

The Alibaba agreement comes soon after the signing of an MoU on 14 November between the Ministry of Revenues of Ethiopia and the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) to cooperate more closely in customs affairs. Adanech Abebe, Ethiopia’s Minister of Revenues, said: “The agreement will help to improve the quality and quantity of information passing between the two countries, and promote technology transfer in customs. As a result, Ethiopia’s Customs Commission and the GACC will be able to play a significant role in facilitating and promoting legal trade between the two countries.”

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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