Fake News, FinTech & Facebook - We're Back (Again)


When you go weeks without receiving a newsletter, be sure there's good reason.

I'll keep this one short and to the point with what stories have caught my eye and major announcements.

We've been working with Safaricom's Innovation Team, known as Safaricom Alpha, on Bonga — a mobile chat app with deep integration to payments.

The story broke on Techcrunch and was followed up by Quartz, the Financial Times, Reuters and more. Having initially been a top secret project, it's been thrilling seeing it finally roll out. Bonga Sasa's ability to let users send money via M-Pesa within chat and not have to leave the platform is something we're looking forward to seeing the impact of.

We're reflecting on StopReflectVerify.com, the fake news quiz we built some months ago. Some quick takeaways from it from the past few weeks:

  1. Top 3 countries to take it are: Nigeria, Kenya and Peru
  2. The top cities where people took the quiz are: Lagos, Nairobi and Accra
  3. Tuesday and Wednesday were the days on which most people took the quiz, usually between 10am and 2pm

I'll be in the Boston/DC/NYC (Eastern seaboard) area taking meetings mid-June on this and more so if there's a place to speak, partner or engage with there please let me know. Once I confirm any public events I'll be sure to write them here in the newsletter.

With that said, let's get to serving your tasting menu of links.

What to Sip <30 sec read

Active interactions [on Facebook] such as sharing, commenting, and reacting will hold much more weight than “passive” interactions such as clicking, viewing, or hovering.

The Buffer blog has taken a look at the major changes Facebook has been making to its platform — changes that will have major effects on the work marketers do there. Brian Peters, to whom this quote is attributed, is referenced in this post where the implications are laid out. We feel this is required reading, not just for marketers, but for anyone who uses Facebook. The content you see is already changing, this is a great way to find out why.

What to Nibble <5 min read

There's been much talk about a new regulation to license online content creators. It has been covered far and wide, with two State agencies — The Kenya Film Commission and the Kenya Film Classification Board — ending up on opposite sides of the issue, and KFCB eventually backtracking on some of the most controversial proposals.

It seems to have irked enough people that a concerned citizen and fellow newsletter subscriber Shitemi Khamadi has made a public litigation suit to challenge KFCB's powers in court by challenging the Film and Stage Plays Act, specifically section 16(4) which he believes grants the Board vague and broad powers.

You can support his public fundraising efforts at his M-Changa fundraiser page.

What to Bite <20 min read

Kenya. “Silicon Savannah”. FinTech. These words are all synonymous. You could switch out mobile money for fintech, but there's reason to believe this is the next chapter. The lack of regulation that allowed M-Pesa to grow has also led to some challenges for other competitors, with its ubiquity and dominance establishing a mobile money landscape other players have so far been unable to alter or define at the same scale.

But regulation appears to be on the horizon. As per Reuters, the Kenyan government has published a draft bill on financial regulation which covers digital lenders for the first time, with a key aim being to ensure that providers treat customers fairly.

Tala has disbursed over 5.6 million loans to over 1 million customers with a value Sh28 billion (US$280 million) while Branch, 2nd in the market, says the company is growing 20 per cent every month and expects to issue over Sh25 billion (US$246 million) in 2018.According to the draft bill, digital lenders will be licensed by a new Financial Markets Conduct Authority, and will also be bound by any interest caps the Authority sets.

This is a major step and, as the Reuters piece notes, will affect not just M-Shwari — run by Safaricom and Commercial Bank of Africa — but app-based lenders such as Tala and Branch. The effects within the digital finance ecosystem will be fascinating to observe.

Last day to apply: Digital Media Awards

Today is the last day to register or nominate yourself or your company/campaign for the inaugural Digital Media Awards. Alongside the team at Social Media Week: Nairobi.

I'll be a judge and you can share this out, you'll have until midnight tonight GMT +3:00 to submit. We grade and judge them next week.


In the interests of disclosure, it is worth saying that Safaricom is a client of Nendo but doesn't pay or influence our coverage of the firm in The Letter N. If, for whatever reason, they ever were to do this, I'll be very transparent about it.

As always I'd love your feedback — comments, complaints and criticism is welcome, you can always hit reply and if there's any way I can help, please reach out and let me know how I can do that.

Until next time,

Mark & Team Nendo

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