JOHANNESBURG: China’s richest man, Jack Ma has pledged to set up a digital training centre in South Africa.
He met with President Cyril Ramaphosa in Hngzhou earlier on Wednesday. This is part of Ramaphosa’s investment drive as he hopes to attract investment into the country worth over R1.3 trillion.
Jack Ma says the training centre will unlock young people’s potential. Ma is in South Africa for the first time to launch a new initiative for African entrepreneurs with $10-million in funding.
Called the Netpreneur Prize, it aims to build a community of 100 young, African entrepreneurs by 2030 who will receive grants totaling $10 million.
Having founded what is now one of the biggest e-commerce success stories in the world, Ma Is an iconic business figure who is listed as amongst the world’s most powerful and richest people by Forbes. Now Alibaba’s executive chairman he uses his Jack Ma Foundation to foster entrepreneurial initiatives, including this one.
Ma will deliver a keynote about the Netrepreneur Prize and his vision for entrepreneurship in Africa as part of the “Netpreneurs: Rise of Africa’s Digital Lions” conference in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
The event is organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), whose Secretary-General, Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, will give an address on Africa’s digital transformation.
Known as a colorful businessman, Ma’s love of English took him to America where exposure to the internet and the ease of business that it enabled inspired him to create what is now the biggest e-commerce company in China. With market capitalization of $542 billion after its 2014 IPO, Alibaba is now one of the world’s top-ten most-valuable companies.