The Co-founder and former Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, made a surprise visit to Nigeria today. He was hosted by Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
According to a statement released by the Presidency (as seen by Nairametrics), the Vice President facilitated Jack Ma’s visit as part of the Federal Government’s plans to “promote technological innovation amongst young people”
The VP was reportedly pleased to have the Chinese businessman around. He also used the opportunity to talk about the opportunities available in the country’s tech sector.
“This is exciting time for us and we are really happy that you are here and I know the young people and lots of businesses and entrepreneurs are looking forward to your interaction with them later today.
“So, the potential is tremendous, it is an incredible potential that we have. So, we are at a point, and your coming is very strategic, in our trajectory and in the progress of our country.
“I think, it is a very important moment and what we are seeing – a lot of entrepreneurship, a lot of young people who are very actively engaged in the digital economy at various levels.”
This is the first time the Chinese billionaire is visiting Africa’s largest economy. He is now among the growing list of prominent tech gurus (from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to Twitter’s Jack Dorsey) who have visited the country in recent times.
In his address, Jack Ma acknowledged that he came to Nigeria on the invitation of Prof. Osinbajo who wanted him to explore the investment opportunities in the country. The invitation was extended earlier this year in Davos, he said.
Interestingly, Mr Ma came along with a delegation of other Chinese investors who could also potentially invest in the country.
In the meantime, Jack Ma said he is willing to invest in the country. He has specific interest in the following areas which he described as “Four Es”:
The Vice President assured the Chinese billionaire that the Nigerian Government is willing to provide the necessary support to all those who demonstrate an intention to invest in the country.
Nigeria currently needs new investors who can create new jobs and invigorate the economy. As such, the President Buhari-led government is doing everything possible to attract the likes of Jack Ma. Meaningful investments in the areas highlighted above would go a long way to position the country on the path to growth.
Recall that Nairametrics reported in September this year that the Chinese billionaire was stepping down as the Executive Chairman of Alibaba. He was replaced by Daniel Zhang.
The 55-year-old businessman Co-founded and built Alibaba Group into one of the most valued e-commerce companies in the world.