JACK Ma, founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, is looking to empower entrepreneurs in Africa so that they can help drive change in the world’s second largest continent.
‘Entrepreneurs are the most important element to promote society,’ said Ma, who spoke in public for the first time since retiring, at the Forbes Global CEO Conference on Tuesday in Singapore, where he received a lifetime achievement award.
‘In Africa, we need three Es: E-government, to make the government transparent; entrepreneurs, make them heroes; and education, make the people know what they want and what they don’t want,’ he said. ‘The thing is that entrepreneurship in Africa is so different … Most entrepreneurs in our countries, they always want to [start an] enterprise, they want to go for IPO. These people in Africa, they want to change Africa. They want to change their lives.’
In November last year, Rwanda became the first African nation to join the Alibaba-led electronic world trade platform (EWTP) initiative, following similar efforts in Southeast Asia, as the New York-listed company seeks to expand digital trade globally.