Over 3,000 bags of Rwanda’s Gorilla’s coffee sold out in less than a minute at online live streaming event held through Electronic World Trade Platform in China on Thursday.
The eWTP was first launched in Rwanda by the Government of Rwanda and Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba Group in October 2018 to offer African businesses easier access to new markets through simple and straightforward procedures.
The platform is also being used to drive sales for global brands impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The livestream event saw Rwandan brand, Gorilla Coffee, trade all of its stock, through Alibaba’s Tmall cross border e-commerce store, highlighting the impact technology has in disrupting global supply chains, according to a statement by the Rwanda Development Board.
David Ngarambe, the Chief Executive Officer of Gorilla’s Coffee said their coffee sales had plunged during the coronavirus pandemic as supply chains were ruptured and cafés and hotels were forced to close their doors.
“A sharp drop in flights worldwide also caused transportation costs of Rwandan coffee to more than double. Thanks to support from the eWTP Gorilla’s Coffee was able to not only reach large swathes of consumers but also generated enough sales to qualify for more reasonable freight rates,” he said.
Eric Jing, Alibaba Group Director and Executive Chairman of Ant Group said they want to support SMEs worldwide to recover from the outbreak, resume production and secure orders in their times of need with digital technologies.
Through Thursday’s live stream, we look forward to reopening global trade, starting with helping businesses reopen, he said.
Also in attendance during the livestream, was Vera Songwe, the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of Economic Commission for Africa.
“At a time when the world is closing down, it is particularly important that we continue with trade because that’s the only way we can build a prosperous world and a prosperous Africa. We believe that with the opening up of the Electronic World Trade Platform to more countries of the continent, we can do more together to ensure that no one is left behind from the Covid-19 crisis.”
Rwanda’s Ambassador to China, James Kimonyo commended the Chinese government for the existing good cooperation with Rwanda in e-commerce, and Alibaba Group in particular for the eWTP partnership which has so far yielded good results, especially in the coffee sector.
“Rwandan farmers are able to sell value added products without going through middlemen, thus making more profits. Because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the world needs e-commerce more than ever before and Rwanda looks forward to continued fruitful partnerships with Alibaba Group.”