Jack Ma, the founder and chairman of online retailer, Alibaba, was in the East African country of Kenya on Thursday, 20th July, 2017, to an enthusiastic welcome by senior government officials, entrepreneurs and university students. At the University of Nairobi where he made his public address, the $30billion worth entrepreneur, the richest man in Asia, narrated how he rose from obscurity to stardom, thanks to sheer hard work and the ability to spot opportunities.
He advised young Kenyans and entrepreneurs not to shy away from failing and get the drive to solve solutions first before thinking of money. He told the gathering to take advantage of the technology to grow their businesses and improve their societies.
Dozens of Kenyan youth feel that they need Ma-like talks as many as possible to inspire them out of poverty.
“He talked about how he struggled with his university education and how he started from a humble English teacher to a world-respected entrepreneur. That’s all I need to change myself, not the usual empty-talk from thieves masquerading as business leaders in Kenya.” Said Gabriel Njiraini, a student at the University of Nairobi.
For Esther Njue, a fashion entrepreneur, the message came at a better time.
“We cannot have young people just using the internet for sex chats and nudity. Let us use the internet to develop and change our country.” She stated.
Kenya leads Africa in terms of internet penetration, with the 30 million out of the 40 million population, having access to the internet, according to a 2017 report by Jumia Business Intelligence and GSMA Mobile titled “White Paper 2017”. The Unemployment rate is at a depressing 39.1%, the highest in the East African region, according to United Nations in the Human Development Index (HDI) Report 2017.