Chinese billion-dollar e-commerce company Alibaba, in collaboration with the Rwandan government, has launched Alipay, an instant money transfer service from Rwanda to China.
Alipay is a third-party mobile and online payment platform, established in Hangzhou, China in February 2004 by Alibaba Group and its founder Jack Ma.
Alipay is expected to facilitate trade and bring “more and better services” for doing business between Rwanda and China.
The arrangement is part of the Global Electronic Commerce Platform (eWTP) Memorandum of Understanding between the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Alibaba Group, Bank of Kigali and Ant Group (a fintech Chinese).
RDB CEO Clare Akamanzi chaired the launch in Kigali on Thursday and said eWTP has been a beneficial program for building trade relations with China.
She said 60 Rwandans have obtained degrees in e-commerce through the program in addition to exporting coffee and chilli and selling tourism products.
Bank of Kigali CEO Diane Karusisi said the new service will facilitate money transfers from Rwanda to China at a fraction of the usual cost.
Sending 10,000 USD will cost as little as 25 USD, but it normally costs 100 USD via other platforms.
“This is just the beginning…we look forward to working more to facilitate trade and investment between Rwanda and China,” Karusisi said.
Wang Jiaxin, economic and commercial counselor at the Chinese embassy in Rwanda, said China has a large digital economy worth $6 trillion.
“We have great potential to launch digital cooperation between our two countries,” he said.
Akamanzi hailed the strong relations between Rwanda and the People’s Republic of China. She said the two countries enjoy a “cordial, fruitful and productive relationship”.