On his maiden trip to Africa this week, Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma revealed a 10-year wildlife conservation program in the world’s second-largest continent, spearheaded by China-based nonprofit organization the Paradise International Foundation.
The Paradise Foundation, which Ma co-chairs with Tencent founder Pony Ma, and the Alibaba Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Alibaba Group, will donate $1.65 million for the preservation of national parks, including those in Kenya and Congo. It would be the foundation’s first project in Africa, Ma announced on a visit to the Rwandan capital of Kigali, the last leg of his two-day trip.
“Africa is a natural habitat for a range of wildlife currently threatened by illegal hunting and wildlife trade,” said Ma, during his meeting with political leaders in Africa. “We are very pleased to be able to contribute our resources to countries that need them.”
Key initiatives include fostering linkages between Chinese charitable organizations and Africa’s nature reserves to retain the continent’s rich wildlife assets—Virunga National Park in Congo and Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve were among some of the recipients named—as well as curbing the trade of illegal wildlife products, which has been posing a serious threat to bio-sustainability in the region.
The Paradise Foundation was established by a group of prominent Chinese entrepreneurs, artists and philanthropists with a mission to “protect the world’s natural wonders through the means of commerce and the scientific method,” according to the organization’s website.
“Conserving nature and protecting the resources of the human race is a calling that transcends geographic borders,” Ma said. “The Paradise Foundation is an organization that originated in China, but we care about the well-being of our entire planet.”
Also a Special Adviser for Youth Entrepreneurship and Small Business for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Ma’s two-day visit to East Africa will be focused on raising awareness for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and encouraging youth and small businesses in Africa to participate in global trade.