The European Sting - How Jack Ma sees a thriving future of entrepreneurship in Africa
With a growing youth population, Africa is at the forefront of the digital economy.
Jack Ma created the Africa Netpreneur Prize and the Alibaba eFounders initiative to identify and support 100 African entrepreneurs.
And currently, the continent is home to six out of the ten of fastest-growing economies in the world.
This size and pace of growth are unprecedented and will bring with them equally unique challenges and opportunities for Africa. While there will be an even greater strain on already limited resources, there will also be an immense supply of potentially entrepreneurial youth to help solve problems facing the continent.
In Africa, a lack of formal infrastructure means a smartphone is often the best gateway to access everyday services or finance or start a business. This has forced the continent to be innovative in order to survive – and in fact has propelled the continent to the forefront of the new digital economy, leapfrogging over the rest of the world with solutions such as MPESA and Andela. Today, Africa has 16% of the world’s population and just 2% of the world’s doctors, yet this undersupply has created a market for new health tech companies aiming to plug the gap, from Silicon Valley (Zipline) to Rwanda (Babyl).
Alibaba’s efforts to double down on Africa and its youth is another strong response to the continent’s promising prospects. This is why the Jack Ma Foundation created the Africa Netpreneur Prize and the Alibaba eFounders initiative. Over the next ten years, the Foundation will identify and support 100 African entrepreneurs with mentorship, training, and a total of $10 million in investment.
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