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File photo taken on Sept. 2, 2011 shows that actor Jet Li arrives on the red carpet for the premiere of the Chinese Hong Kong film "Bai She Chuan Shuo" ("The Sorcerer and the White Snake") at the 68th Venice International Film Festival in Venice, Italy. (Xinhua/Wang Qingqin)

Renowned film actor, director and martial artist Jet Li vowed his support to the efforts of entrepreneurial development in Africa and expressed hope that Africa would see more entrepreneurs in the future.

ADDIS ABABA, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Renowned film actor, director and martial artist Jet Li on Thursday vowed his support to the efforts of entrepreneurial development in Africa.

Jet Li stressed the need to facilitate situations and create a conducive environment for African entrepreneurs, pointing out that platforms such as the Africa Netpreneur Initiative (ANPI) play an important role in entrepreneurship development on the continent.

In an interview with Xinhua, Jet Li expressed hope that Africa would see more entrepreneurs in the future, and such initiative as the ANPI reaches the youth and is exploited effectively on the continent. The ANPI has been launched by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba's founder, Jack Ma, being his foundation's flagship philanthropic program in Africa.

Jet Li was a cheerleader during the finale competition of the 1st edition of Africa Netpreneur Prize held in Accra, Ghana in November 2019. The interview was made as preparations for the 2nd edition of the Africa Netpreneur Prize are underway. The interview was made through Internet voice call.

Over a ten-year period, the ANPI plans to recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and commit to allocating 100 million U.S. dollars in grant funding, training programs, and support for the broad African entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The Jack Ma Foundation hosts its first annual Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) grand finale awarding 1 million U.S. dollars in prize money to 10 entrepreneurs from across Africa in Accra, Ghana, on Nov. 16, 2019. (Xinhua/Jack Ma Foundation)

The initiative annually accepts applications from entrepreneurs of all African countries, regardless of the sector. Ten finalists will compete in a televised finale named Africa's Business Heroes Show and win prize from the Jack Ma Foundation.

Li said that entrepreneurship is the future of Africa, which should be supported in different aspects.

Reiterating that African entrepreneurs should be provided with such platforms to grow, Li said he would help enhance the ongoing entrepreneurial initiatives on the continent.

"My first visit to Africa was in 1977. The second time I went there was last year for the first final competition of the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative...entrepreneurship is the future of Africa's young people. African entrepreneurs should become the heroes who create jobs," said Li during the interview.

"I should do something for Africa...I will go to Africa again, and want to see African entrepreneurs get not only the financial award, but also advice from successful predecessors. That can be even more valuable," he said.

According to the ANPI, application for the 2020 competition is going on with already 15,000 applicants. Ten finalists will be selected from among those who complete the application process, and share an enlarged prize pool of 1.5 million U.S. dollars this year. ■

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