Jack Ma: Africa Is The Next Great Tech Frontier

africa ecommerce

Alibaba Group Holding’s founder and chairman Jack Ma China’s said that the company “will do anything to share technology” with Africa.

“The opportunity in eCommerce in Africa lies in the fact that Africa is lacking logistics, infrastructure and payment systems,” Ma said at a conference in Johannesburg, according to Bloomberg.

Ma discussed with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa implementing more favorable tax conditions for eCommerce startups. And Ma has set aside $10 million for a fund for African entrepreneurs.

Consumers in Africa already use mobile money to pay utility bills and other services and items, and to receive remittances, providing increased household cash flow. In fact, sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 49 percent of all mobile money accounts globally, with use especially high in eastern Africa, a region that includes Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.

In fact, Kenya represents one of the best examples of the continent’s embrace of mobile payments and commerce. Kenya’s Safaricom has launched a new Bonga platform, a product designed to combine payments, messaging and online social activities. Users will be able to create business profiles linked to their personal social media profiles and M-Pesa accounts so they can sell online, while the nation’s creative class can upload, shape and distribute artistic products and content.

Uber Eats even recently announced that it would expand in Africa, underscoring the growth of mobile payments and commerce there.

And public health officials are hopeful that mobile payments can enable more doctor’s visits and related tasks throughout Africa. “Mobile money might be attached to services such as mobile insurance, savings and credit accounts. Mobile insurance provides insurance through the mobile phone, where users pay for premiums in small amounts and receive claims through mobile money,” according to recent analysis from global health experts in SciDevNet.

Africa, as a whole, accounts for about 1 percent of the world’s health expenditures, underscoring the low level of spending in that sector.