E-commerce studies were on Friday officially launched in Rwandan universities.
The move is part of the deal inked in 2018 between the government of Rwanda and Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba.
Under the 2018 deal, Rwanda and Alibaba committed to develop the ecommerce ecosystem and a digital economy in the country, promoting epayments, and building the capacity of Rwandans in regards to a digital economy.
In line with implementing the capacity building aspect of the deal, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the High Education Council in partnership with Alibaba inaugurated the Global Ecommerce Talent (GET), which happens to be Afrca’s first ecommerce training programme at the university level.
The programme was inaugurated at the African Leadership University (ALU) in Kigali, making it the first university to host the programme that will be studied in other universities in the country.
According to Demilade Oluwasina, who will lead the programme at ALU, over 150 students at the university have enrolled to take part in the program that will commence from next week and run for about 9 months; and the university already has 7 faculty instructors for the course.
The programme is an Alibaba Business School Initiative aimed at training aspiring entrepreneurs from across the globe in e-commerce and digital economy business skills, aiming at making Rwanda Africa’s e-Commerce hub, foster the Africa-China relationship, develop digital economy leaders, and train young people to build digital businesses
ALU has partnered with the Alibaba Business School to train 200 young students in the GET Programme in 2020.
Speaking at the launch, Diane Sayinzoga, the Head of Special Economic Zone and Export at RDB said the program is a very important opportunity that students should take advantage of to learn ecommerce business as an ecosystem in general.
She said that under the capacity building component of the 2018 Rwanda-Alibaba deal, other developments have also been transpiring among which is an undergraduate program in which about 20 Rwandan students are in China studying digital economy; young ecommerce entrepreneurs getting trained, and now the GET programme for universities.
She said that about ten universities have had lecturers trained in ecommerce, in preparation for the GET program.
Head of Special Economic Zones and Export Facilitation Department at (RDB) Diane Sayinzoga speaks during the Launch of Global E-Commerce Talent at Kigali on Friday. / Craish Bahizi
She pledged support to the students who will pursue ecommerce.
“We are here to support you if you have initiatives, ideas to promote ecommerce,” she said.
Dr. Rose Mukankomeje, the Executive Director of the HEC said the programme “is very good for Africa, and good for Rwanda,” as she tipped ecommerce as an opportunity for accessing the international market.
The 2018 Alibaba deal has seen a number of developments where among others Rwandan coffee is being sold to the Chinese market, tourism packages are marketed online in China, and lately, local chili has also found its way into the Chinese market via Chinese ecommerce platform.