Chinese business magnate, investor and politician Jack Ma has lately been in the news for helping African countries combat Covid-19, and that only seems to be the tip of the iceberg.
It is now emerging that Ma has other plans too. He wants to run for presidency in Africa!
In a conversation with a Malaysian media outlet, Jack Ma said that it was after a lot of soul searching and consultations with key people in Africa that he decided to take the challenge and offer leadership to Africa. “It is one of the toughest decisions that I have ever made and this is what I want to focus on for all my remaining years on earth.”
The Chinese Way
He said that he wanted to transform Africa in a similar way that China has transformed itself.
“If you look at where China was thirty years ago and where we are now, it is an indicator that Africa can transform itself from poverty and dependence into a self-sustaining economy. This is my vision for Africa and I am sure that if I offer leadership for about ten years, Africa will have found its footing and will be able to ‘pull a new China’ in 25 years.”
Jack Ma admitted that it would be a challenging task considering that most of Africa has a form of democratic government which is not suited for accelerated development, and was already a failure. However, he forecast that it would not be hard to gain acceptance since the kind of experiences people had faced under democracy were enough to convince people that the current system had failed.
Some of the challenges that he would be expected to solve include persistent food shortage, low life expectancy, piling national debts and an absent or struggling manufacturing industry. Technology will play a key role in the transformation.
Jack Ma said that he had not settled on which country to run for president, but was working with the African Union and other regional bodies like COMESA to see if he can run for president for the whole of Africa, bringing to reality the United States of Africa.
However, he prefers an English-speaking region since most French speaking countries are still under some French rule and therefore the arrangement would not work due to the interference by the French government.