Jack Ma, the CEO and Executive Chairman of the Alibaba Group, has said that he will be stepping down and retiring from his roles at the e-commerce giant on his 54th birthday on 10 September 2018. Ma has said that he will pursue his educational philanthropy work during his retirement.

Before starting Alibaba in 1999, Ma was an English teacher at a university.

Helping Afrikan startups

Ma has already been active through his foundation, the Jack Ma Foundation, with philanthropy work. Part of that philanthropy has seen Ma and the team at Alibaba, over the past couple of years, initiating and involved in various initiatives to uplift, upskill, and fund Afrika's digital startups.

In his first trip to the continent in 2017, Ma visited Kenya and Rwanda where he also announced the African Young Entrepreneurs Fund and a partnership with UNCTAD to train Afrikan digital and e-commerce startups. Added to these two initiatives, Ma launched the Netpreneurs Prize for Afrikan startups earlier in 2018 during his first trip to South Africa where he addressed startups. It doesn't stop there, as indicated by Brian Wong, Vice President for Global Initiatives at Alibaba, in an interview with iAfrikan, other initiatives the $420 billion Chinese e-commerce is looking to implement in Afrika include an e-commerce training programme. The first one has already kicked off in Rwanda where University lecturers were trained, in order to train students, on the digital economy, forming a company, risk management, and acquiring customers.

Ma has said that his retirement is not necessarily the end of an era, but the beginning of one.

At the time of publishing, Alibaba had not issued a statement nor indicated who will be taking over the roles of CEO and Chairman at the company once Ma steps down on 10 September 2018.

Cover image credit: Jack Ma. <a href="https://www.alibaba.com"target="_blank">Alibaba Group

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