Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba,was the guest speaker at the first Nigerian Digital Economic Summit (NDES) which held today, November 14, in Abuja.
Ma who arrived Nigeria earlier in the day was received by the Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
In his welcome speech, the business tycoon said that he came to Nigeria with a delegation of Chinese investors to assist the country economically. He added that he is aiming at assisting Nigeria with his four ‘Es’ agenda (E-infrastructure, Entrepreneurship, E-government and Education).
The Nigerian Digital Economic Summit titled ‘Leveraging the Digital Economy for Trade & Investment’ was opened by Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment.
During the summit’s panel discussion, Jack Ma spoke about the difficulties he had in getting investors during the early stages of Alibaba.
He encouraged entrepreneurs to believe in their product, that it was only then investors will believe.
Talking about his success, Ma revealed that his passion to solve problems help him get bigger. As a company grows bigger, he pointed out, an entrepreneur gets more money along with more problems, more customers, more work.
He also highlighted some points to note as an entrepreneur’s company grows bigger.
This trip follows Ma’s first visit to Africa, where he spent time in Rwanda and Kenya in 2017 and launched a $10 million fund for African entrepreneurs.
Addressing the panelists, Ma advocated that successful entrepreneurs should help empower upcoming entrepreneurs.
He wasn’t alone, Mr Tunde Folawiyo, CEO Yinka Folawiyo Group, also said that young entrepreneurs needed support.
Ma added that the way to make people rich is through entrepreneurship.
When the panel asked Ma about how to build governance for a robust digital economy, he advised that the government should not take taxes out of small startups.
Other speakers at the event were the Ambassador representing Anna Hallberg, Minister for Foreign Trade of Sweden.
Kojo Boakye, Head of Public Policy in Africa for Facebook who spoke about the social network’s investment in Nigeria and Africa.
And MasterCard representative who expressed the companies commitment to Africa’s digital future.
Ma is the second global tech founder and investor to visit Nigeria in the past week after co-founder and CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, toured the country.