EYEAFRICA TV: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Chinese business guru and e-commerce legend Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma hailed the growth potential of Africa and has vowed to help nurture the already strong spirit of young entrepreneurs so as to help the continent develop.
Ma made the remarks on Monday after the Alibaba Group, the company he founded in 1999, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Ethiopia for the creation of Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP), which many see as a game-changing initiative to promote the digital economy of the East African country.
The eWTP was first proposed by Ma in 2016 and aims to set up an open platform for private enterprises and coordination among international organizations, governments and social groups which focus on the development of SMEs as well as trade.
Ma has been impressed by Ethiopia’s business acumen and said his group has keen interest in working with entrepreneurs and enterprises from Ethiopia and other African nations to seize the opportunities offered by the digital era.
“I think Africa has a huge potential but there is one problem: its logistics. So, Ethiopia has the best airlines in Africa and we need to build up the logistic hub. And I think if we are talking about inclusiveness, we are talking about sustainable growth. If Africa is not developed, If the African economy is not developed because of its own entrepreneurs, its own internal powers, that’ll be bad. And this is what I’m good at and this is what I am passionate about, is to inspire, to cultivate the spirit of entrepreneurship, to empower them,” he said.
Ma, who formally stood down as chairman of the Alibaba Group in September, said that it will take joint efforts among the brightest entrepreneurs to develop Africa and achieve sustainable growth and cited four areas to focus on, dubbed the ‘four Es’, namely entrepreneurship, education, e-government, and e-infrastructure.
The Jack Ma Foundation recently dedicated a support package giving a total cash prize of one million U.S. dollars to support the enterprises of 10 young African entrepreneurs, and Ma hopes he can help inspire and cultivate Africa’s brightest business talents.
“I think as I said, I need to focus on four things – four ‘Es’: entrepreneur, education, e-government, and e-infrastructure. So I’ll start with entrepreneurs, because entrepreneurs, those people create; those people are innovative; those people are constructive. I found there are so many young entrepreneurs in Africa, they are excellent. They have a great [way of] thinking. They have great ideas. So how can we train them in a way that can develop Africa. So my Jack Ma Foundation will focus on the entrepreneurship first, try to encourage more entrepreneurs, try to train or develop entrepreneurs in that,” he said.