On his first and quick tour of Afrika from 23 to 25 July 2017, Jack Ma, who is the Founder and Executive Chairperson of Alibaba, paid a visit to both Rwanda and Kenya accompanied by 38 other Chinese business persons. During his stop over in Rwanda, Ma announced that he will be creating a $10 million African Young Entrepreneurs Fund.
Jack Ma made this announcement during the Youth Connekt Africa Summit co-hosted by the United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD) and the Government of Rwanda.
“I want that fund supporting Afrikan online businesses,” said Jack Ma.
“The money is set. This is my money, so I don’t have to get anybody’s approval,”
Ma is also the Special Adviser to UNCTAD for Youth Entrepreneurship and Small Business.
“I think e-commerce, the Internet, Big Data is [are] the future. You can never stop it. You like it or don’t like it. But you will never stop it,”Jack Ma
During his talk and announcement of the fund he further highlighted that that he was in the process of hiring staff for the fund with a target of starting operations in 2017.
As part of the fund he also added that he wants to take 200 of the young Afrikan entrepreneurs to China, specifically to experience first hand how Alibaba operates and learn a few things they can apply to their own online businesses.
What is interesting is that Ma seemed to echo a similar sentiment as Daniel Mwesigwa who wrote recently about the importance of academia in Afrika's technology ecosystem when he, Ma, said that he planned to roll out a partnership with Afrikan universities to teach Internet technology, Artificial Intelligence and e-commerce.
Jack Ma speaking at the Youth Connekt Africa Summit 2017 in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Youth Connekt Africa Summit was held in Kigali, Rwanda and it brought together more than 1,500 participants from government, business and investor communities, multinationals, and startups shaping Afrika's technology ecosystem.
“I think e-commerce, the Internet, Big Data is [are] the future. You can never stop it. You like it or don’t like it. But you will never stop it,”
“Every time you have a technological revolution, it will kill a lot of jobs and it will create a lot of jobs. This is what history tells us.” concluded Ma.