Alibaba conjures up $10m for African start-ups

By wael Hussien

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is continuing its investment in the African tech sector by investing $10m into fresh start-ups. Asia’s richest man – and Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma – who is worth a reputed $35bn, told an audience at the Youth Connekt Summit in Rwanda, that operations would begin this year.

Ma also announced that 200 Africans would be hand selected to attend a training session in China. The Alibaba chief has finalised plans to roll out a partnership with African universities to teach internet technology, artificial intelligence and e-commerce.

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“I want that fund supporting African online businesses. The money is set. This is my money, so I don’t have to get anybody’s approval,” Ma said, adding, “I want them to go to China, meet our people and see all the things we have been doing; all the great ideas China has.”

“I’m a strong believer of globalisation. In the past global trade was controlled by a few companies. The internet is changing this so we are very lucky people right now and Africa has a huge opportunity. I’m not telling you this to inspire you. I’m just telling you the truth.”

Ma said he would liaise with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), where he works as special adviser for Youth Entrepreneurship and Small Business.

 

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