Cross-border electronic auction platform proves to be profitable in Rwanda

RWANDA – Following a successful auction of Rwandan coffee on China’s e-commerce platform, organized by the Alibaba group, Rwanda is set to as well auction Chilli on the electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP).

Rwanda and the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba in 2018 signed an agreement that opened doors for small businesses in Africa to take part in the cross-border electronic trade by availing their products to the Chinese market through Tmall, a subsidiary online platform of Alibaba.

Last week, about 1.5 tonnes of roasted Rwandan coffee beans from Gorilla Coffee brand were sold within a minute during an online live streaming event which had about 20 million fans.

This was the second time for such an event to be organised by the Rwandan embassy in China. Earlier this year, in a similar event held in Hangzhou City, up to 2,000 packets of Rwandan coffee was sold in about 10 minutes.

Organised by the Alibaba Group, the online events have been aiming to promote Rwandan coffee which is available on the Chinese e-commerce market.

In an interview with The New Times, James Kimonyo Rwanda’s Ambassador to China hinted that they are looking at making an event for chilli.

“We are looking at so many things to do with Rwanda and we are happy that coffee has become a signature export crop,” he said, adding; “In fact I should have mentioned that at some point we will do another event on Rwanda chili, it is becoming very popular in Tmall.”

In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, Rwanda fetched US$1 million from chili exports, according to statistics from National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB).

In the same year the country exported 721,000 kilogrammes of chili, which demonstrates the rising potential of crop in the midst of the country’s efforts to diversify its exports.

Last year, Rwandan young agribusiness entrepreneur, Dieudonné Twahirwa, landed a deal to supply 50,000 tonnes of dry chilli worth US$100 million every year to China, a move expected to significantly boost Rwanda’s agricultural exports.

The five-year agreement was signed in September 2019, at the Rwandan Embassy in Beijing between Twahirwa and the Chinese GK International Enterprises, a trading company dealing with import and export of different items, including food items, solar coating, among others.

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