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Jack Ma: Why I flew 15 hours just to visit Nigeria

Jamilah Nasir

Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba, Chinese e-commerce company, led a team of investors from his country to Nigeria on Thursday. 

Speaking when he met with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the presidential villa in Abuja, Ma said the essence of the visit is to understand Africa more.

One of the richest men in Aisa said he had been looking forward to visiting the country.

“I think our team today realised our dreams meeting you. We flew 15 hours into Nigeria and we are excited. This trip is to try to understand Africa more. We came to Africa four years ago and our plan is to visit four, five countries in every trip,” Ma said.

“My personal target is to try and visit every country in Africa in 10 years and support Africa. Nigeria is a great country with a large population, very strong economy, excellent young people with excellent innovations. And this is a country.”

Ma also shares some concepts that he feels could assist a developing nation like Nigeria.

“We also want help through four Es in Africa. The first, E list is E-infrastructure – support internet connections to everybody. We hope that every young person, every small business should have access to the internet to do business anywhere, anytime,” he said.

“The second E is support entrepreneurs, this is very important. We think we can make entrepreneurs as the heros of African continent. In China is the entrepreneurs that promote business development, government support entrepreneurs.

“The third is E-government, if government is on E, it will be very efficient, transparent, people will know government can help and government will know what the people want. The last and very important E is education.

“In the next few days we are going to have the all the internet prize, everyone in Africa can apply for award. I am happy to know that four Nigerian entrepreneurs are among the top 10. We will have the final competition in two days and I think Nigeria entrepreneurs will have great result.

“This is just the beginning. Our jobs is to support entrepreneurs. Everyone in the delegation, we are all founders of our own businesses in China. We think what we have experienced in China can help Africa entrepreneurs develop, support e-infrastructure, e-governance, e-entrepreneurs and e-education and this is what we came here for.

“We will love to have advise and know government’s direction so that we can do a better job.”

Osinbajo thanked Ma for “acknowledging Nigeria’s role in Africa and the world”.

“By leading a team of investors to Nigeria, I hope you see as we do,  investment opportunities in Africa’s digital economy, infrastructure and her people,” Osinbajo said.

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