Alibaba, a leading international online retailer, has entered into a partnership agreement with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to help support up to 24 Africa-based entrepreneurs. The deal is part of an inaugural strategy known as the eFounders Initiative.
The Initiative is the first step to fulfilling a commitment Alibaba Founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma made as UNCTAD special adviser for young entrepreneurs and small business.
It is part of a set of smart partnerships UNCTAD is creating to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
The eFounders Initiative is also in line with Alibaba’s mission to help small businesses succeed in their home markets and beyond by leveraging the power of technology.
“Countries with poor infrastructure, regulatory frameworks, skills and local content development, and electronic payment systems, are missing out on what the innovative flare of young entrepreneurs can generate in the fast-growing digital marketplace,” said UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi.
The 24 participants were selected from more than 700 applicants via a rigorous application process. All participants are current pioneers in their respective fields, varying from mobile payment, big data, retail, logistics, and others.
After graduating from the programme, each participant will commit to applying the programme’s lessons to their own business objectives and to transferring their knowledge to others to improve e-commerce infrastructure of their country.
The two-week intensive course included capacity-building in e-commerce, from inventory management and rural commerce to logistics and mobile payment systems, as well as how to use data to best capture consumer preferences.