Alibaba Launches Fund to Promote African Youth Entrepreneurship

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Entrepreneurship in Africa has emerged as one of the most sustainable tools to generate jobs. A 2015 study by Approved Index, a UK based group, ranked Africa near the top in terms of entrepreneurship. Global investors are increasingly recognizing the rise of entrepreneurship and the changing business landscape in the African continent.

At a recent Youth Connekt Africa Summit co-hosted by UNCTAD and the Government of Rwanda, Alibaba founder Jack Ma announced the launch of a $10 million African Young Entrepreneurs Fund. Ma, who is Special Advisor to UNCTAD for Youth Entrepreneurship and Small Business, said that he wants to support African online businesses through this fund.

In addition to the fund, Alibaba also plans to roll out a partnership with African universities to teach internet technology, e-commerce and artificial intelligence. Ma will work with UNCTAD to help bring 200 budding African entrepreneurs to China to receive hands-on training at Alibaba.

The Youth Connekt Africa Summit, held in Kigali, brought together more than 1,500 participants from government, entrepreneurial and investor communities, multinationals, and startups shaping the African technological ecosystem.

Unlocking Africa's e-commerce is a key priority for UNCTAD, given the potential of online trade to support development. UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said that African entrepreneurs should come up with original ideas and apply innovation, rather than distributing the products made by others.

UNCTAD is working with Ma to explore opportunities with African businesses to participate in global trade, as well as to raise awareness of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted by the international community in 2015. Ma underscored the importance of internet access in all nations, calling it a more important raw material for economies than coal and electricity were in the past.

Source: UNCTAD