[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s the Chinese proverb goes: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
This is the inspiration the youth and enterprises in the Africa need from the likes of Bill Gates, Carlos Slim, Warren Buffett, Amancio Ortega, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, Charles Koch, David Koch and Michael Bloomberg and many more who have made it in life.
That was exactly what Jack Ma, who was named youth entrepreneurship and small business special adviser by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNctad) did in Kenya last this week.
Ma, a founder and executive chairman of the Chinese e-commerce Alibaba Group – a family of internet-based businesses worth $41.8 billion (Sh4.34 trillion) as at June 2017, said during his inspirational speech that he had failed so many times in life.
But despite those lamentable failures in everything he attempted to do, he never lost hope. He continued to strive even when others said he could not make it. “If you continuously face rejection, you get used to failure. You however can still succeed,” he said.
Changing the speed
Ma said one time he was given a guide book on success, but he trashed it, saying success is not about academic accolades; it is about learning from your failures. “Failures teach you how to face mistakes,” he said.
He said the internet was the future of all economies and the youth should embrace it. Ma said he believes with access to internet and mobile telephony, Africa has the opportunity to succeed in e-commerce and change the world.
He urged the youth not to copy other people’s experience. “Create and use your own model,” said Ma.
Born on September 10, 1964, Jack Ma has become a global icon in business and entrepreneurship, one of the world’s most influential businessmen and a philanthropist known for expounding his philosophy on business.
His love for knowledge scenario is at variance with successful people in Africa. African dollar-millionaires seldom share their success secrets with the youth in their continent.