Alibaba's Jack Ma offers $10 million to support online businesses in Africa

Mr Ma also plans to take a number of African entrepreneurs to China in order to gain hands-on experience at the Alibaba headquarters.

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Ali Baba Founder Jack Ma has announced the creation of a US$10 million African Young Entrepreneurs Fund to support African Online businesses.

Speaking during the Youth Connekt Africa Summit in Rwanda last week, Mr Ma said he aims to support young entrepreneurs across the continent and added that the programme will be operational later this year.

“I want that fund supporting African online businesses,” said Mr. Ma, who is a Special Adviser to UNCTAD for Youth Entrepreneurship and Small Business.

“The money is set. This is my money, so I don’t have to get anybody’s approval,” he added.

The Chinese tycoon said that he would also work with UNCTAD help bring 200 budding African business people to his homeland China to learn from Alibaba.

“I want them to go to China, meeting our people, seeing all the things we have been doing, all the great ideas China has.”

“They know what they want. And when they know what they want, we can support it,” he said.

Mr Ma flew to Rwanda after completing his two-day Nairobi visit last week. The Youth Connekt Africa Summit in Kigali brought together over 1,500 participants from government, entrepreneurial and investor communities, multinationals, and startups shaping the African technological ecosystem.

In addition, Mr Ma seeks to roll out a partnership with African universities to teach internet technology, artificial intelligence and e-commerce.

He is working with UNCTAD to explore opportunities that enable African businesses participate in global trade, as well as to raise awareness on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted by the international community in 2015.

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