Chinese e-commerce mogul Jack Ma : Africa’s challenging situation should be a source of innovation

To many, he embodies the idea of success.

Jack Ma, a Chinese billionaire, jetted into Nairobi Wednesday evening, started a packed two-day visit that peaked with a public appearance at the University of Nairobi and a speech to Kenyan youth tips on how to build successful business empires.

Photo: Credits

Throughout his many public lectures that are available online, Jack Ma has emphasized a philosophy of personal change and humility, empowerment of women in public lives, and investing more in youth.

Jack Ma said that Africa’s poor infrastructure, social, economic and political situation should be a source of innovation for most entrepreneurs, just as lack of e-commerce in his home country inspired him to start one of the biggest online marketplaces. “If the Government does not have a solution to any problem, it is an opportunity.If people complain, it is an opportunity,” Jack Ma told a room packed with students during his visit to Kenya that also saw him meet President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House and Kenya’s private sector under the aegis of Kenya Private Sector Alliance. It was a talk that was highly anticipated.

“Effort should be made to encourage young Kenyan entrepreneurs to access the Chinese market just like the Chinese are accessing local markets. Our challenge is not finding agents to import Chinese goods, I am looking for people who are willing to sell African goods to China.”

African entrepreneurs have been told not to be afraid of making mistakes, but instead to see their problems as opportunities. “If the Government does not have a solution to any problem, it is an opportunity. If people complain, it is an opportunity,” Jack Ma explained.

“Poor infrastructure might give you an opportunity you have never seen before,” he said. The man, who had been rejected several times on his way to success, told young people to get used to failure. “You have to get used to failure. 

His company has 56,000 employees and has created over 33 million jobs in China. The e-commerce guru who has neither training in business nor knowledge in computers and coding told a hall packed with enthusiastic students that they should learn to work with people and be respectful rather than being rich.

 

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