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Alibaba: Ethiopian Coffee Brands Launch on China’s Largest e-Commerce Platform

ADDIS ABABA – Imagine using one second to sell more than 11,200 bags of Ethiopian coffee.

That is what happened on January 19, 2022, during the Ethiopian Coffee Brands Launch on China’s Largest E-Commerce Platform, Alibaba (Tmall Global), in a joint effort with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Ethiopian Government.

“Success recorded in exporting Ethiopian coffee to China will provide a roadmap in leveraging export potential for other ten African countries, where ECA is working this year, to provide more export potential from Africa to China,” said Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the ECA, said in a statement her office issued this week.

“This launch demonstrates the benefits that, not only Ethiopia, but Africa can reap in harnessing digitalization,” stated Gebremeskel Chala, Minister of Trade and Regional Integration of Ethiopia.

It will also further boost the growing coffee export to China which saw a 196 percent growth in volume between Jan and November 2021 alone.

ECA has joined efforts with Alibaba Group, and the Government of Ethiopia to bring more quality African products to one of the largest markets in the world today — the Chinese online market.

– Boosting coffee trade –

Through this partnership, the electronic World Trading Platform (eWTP) has successfully on-boarded three Ethiopian coffee brands, namely Wild, Arada, and Hedero.

The trio exclusively featured freshly roasted authentic coffee produced by small and medium-sized Ethiopian businesses at a livestream event to promote the launch of new Ethiopian coffee products on Tmall Global.

Using AntChain’s track and trace technology, all coffee on display was airlifted from Ethiopia; thus, guaranteeing a safe and transparent journey from departure to arrival.

The primary objective of the initiative is to leverage the infrastructure provided by the electronic World Trade Platform (e-WTP) in creating an enabling environment to promote e-commerce and tourism for African entrepreneurs, whilst bringing quality African products into the Chinese market.

The launch will further boost the growing coffee export to China which saw a 196 percent growth in volume between Jan and November 2021 alone.

– ‘Bridging trade Imbalance’ –

The ECA official also expects it to enable other African countries to participate in and benefit from inclusive global trade.

Trade volume between China and Africa rose a record $254.3 billion in 2021, growing by 35.3% year-on-year. During the same period, China’s imports rose 43.7%, 13.8% higher than exports, which rose 29.9%, according to its Customs officials.

“This trade initiative aims to ensure that Africa can bring back the balance of trade,” said Songwe, who is also the UN Under-Secretary-General.

“We are delighted to work with the Government of Ethiopia on this real opportunity, to see how this partnership will continue to improve the livelihoods of citizens in Ethiopia, by offering an interoperable platform for trade.” She added.

Eric Jing, Alibaba Group Director and Executive Chairman of AntGroup, said “Through coffee, we will build a bridge fostering China-Africa economic and trade cooperation, and stimulating economic recovery,” as he rallied support of First Joint Promotion of Ethiopian Coffee and Cooperation on African Public Welfare.

– Special donation –

The launch will set in motion a community project on Tmall Global whereby, for each bag of coffee sold, a special donation will be made to purchase school supplies for Ethiopian primary school students.

Minister of Trade Gebremeskel indicated that “through your purchases, support, and the power of e-commerce, the cooperation will benefit coffee farmers, SMEs and students in Ethiopia.”

First proposed by Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma in 2016, the eWTP has been recognized by the G20 and launched in China, Malaysia, Belgium, Rwanda, and Ethiopia.

The electronic World Trade Platform is a private sector-led, multi-stakeholder initiative offering SMEs easier access to new markets via simple and straightforward regulations. It also offers training and support in areas such as e-commerce, logistics, financing, cloud computing and mobile payments.

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