Jack Ma, the multi-billionaire founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, will be in South Africa for the first time this week to address South African startups and entrepreneurs. Ma will also be launching the "Netpreneur Prize" initiative to create a community of a 100 young Afrikan entrepreneurs and startups by 2030.

During this period, the Netpreneur Prize is expected to issue grants to Afrikan startups and entrepreneurs totalling $10 million.

Jack Ma to deliver keynote address to South African startups

During his visit to South Africa, Ma will address startups as part of the conference named “Netpreneurs: The Rise of Africa’s Digital Lions”. It will take place at the Linder Auditorium at University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg on Wednesday 8 August 2018. The main theme of the conference is to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing a new digital Afrika and the role that the public sector, investors, entrepreneurs and educational organisations must play in this transformation.

In 2017 Ma made his first tour of Afrika where he paid a visit to both Rwanda and Kenya. During that tour, he launched the African Young Entrepreneurs Fund.

The event will also include:

  • Keynote on Africa’s digital transformation by Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General, UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development).

  • Lightning talks (5 mins) from three entrepreneurs who were part of the Alibaba “eFounder’s programme” earlier this year on their digital entrepreneurship in Africa.

  • Keynote on the Netrepreneur prize and a vision for entrepreneurship in Africa from Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba


Cover image credit: Jack Ma, YGL, Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group Holding, People's Republic of China; Member of the Board of Trustees, World Economic Forum, speaking during the session, Enabling eCommerce: Small Enterprises, Global Players, at the Annual Meeting 2018 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 24, 2018. Copyright by World Economic Forum / Ciaran McCrickard