Good morning. “This isn’t ineptitude, this is evil” – This Twitter user after policemen in Lagos, Nigeria shot live rounds into protesting crowds.
In today’s edition:
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For most of the day, the internet felt like one big Slack channel.
In Lagos, Nigeria, where I am, protests against police brutality are now in day 6.
The Nigerian government still seems shocked that the protests are going on, especially when they handed us a line about disbanding the rogue SARS unit.
But most people say that a vague speech by the Police Chief disbanding SARS is not good enough.
So, an hour after you get this email,
protesters in different cities in Nigeria, will head out again peacefully, hoping that trigger happy policemen don’t add to the casualty figures. 11 people are confirmed to have been murdered so far.
When policemen kill 11 people during a protest against police brutality, that is crossing the Rubicon.
So how has the internet felt like a Slack channel all day?
Nigerians are often accused of being docile towards bad governments. We don’t protest government’s actions or inactions enough.
Yet, the reality is different.
There are a lot of logistical challenges if you hope to organise a protest. First, you want a show of force so that your protest is visible. This may involve ensuring that thousands of people show up at the same place.
So you design banners, pick a hashtag, and circulate those on all social media channels. You also want to give instructions to the people who want to show up: what’s acceptable behavior,
what’s the goal of the protest and how do they conduct themselves?
So far, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Whatsapp have been helpful for passing information.
But passing information isn’t enough.
Protests need money too
During Friday’s protests, I realised how expensive it is to keep
the momentum going in a protest. While you want people to stay at the protest grounds, the reality is that get hungry or thirsty or bored.
So you raise money to buy water for protesters, and in these times, to buy face masks for those who do not have. Did I mention someone was handing out chewing gum at the protest venue as well?
Food, pillows, mats, biscuits, cocktails… the generosity of thousands of people keeps the momentum going.
The Nigerian fintech startup, Flutterwave set up a donation link for Nigeria’s protests which it says has received ₦20 million so far. The Feminist Coalition, which has taken a central role in the protests also has a donation link.
How do outsiders know that this is a huge problem?
Now that logistics and financing are sorted, you want the cause you’re fighting for to be easily understood and all in one place. Hashtags can be useful, but they’re not the easiest way of figuring out what the meat of the matter is.
Enter archiving websites like thisand this. It’s the clutter free way to know the details of what Nigerians are protesting and what the real issues are.
Funding helps pay for lawyers too
In Nigeria, where our democracy is still taking shape, protests revive years of military intolerance against public censure.
So, protesters will get arrested and monies are paid to secure the release of some protesters.
One lawyer tells me that policemen quickly turn this into a racket, arresting more protesters just to get bail money. But rackets like this are risky for protesters with no identification; it becomes difficult to know where they may have been taken to.
Google Sheets like this help to compile a list of missing persons so that an army of freelance lawyers can try to find them and secure their release.
So, the next time you see a protest, I hope you’re curious about the structures that keep the people going.
You can spread the word about the protests in Nigeria by forwarding this email to your network of friends and family.
How do you spell industry dominance? Safaricom
According to Q4 Sector Statistics released recently by the Kenyan Communications Authority, Safaricom generated 87% of Kenya’s Telco Revenue in 2019.
In 2019, Safaricom generated Kshs 240.3 billion ($2 bn) in revenue while the rest of the players in the industry combined generated Kshs 36.3 bn ($334m).
Where does it get such a large lead?
Its 50% stake in the mobile money service, M-PESA, which is so popular it enjoys a 99% market share in Kenya.
That market share means that it has 30.5 million mobile money subscriptions. For a country with 51 million people, that’s huge. So huge that it contributes 32% to the company’s overall revenue.
What it means for competitors
other mobile money service has been able to successfully challenge Safaricom’s dominance, but it’s not for a lack of trying. The company’s biggest advantage is its wide network of agents. One comparable Nigerian parallel may be OPay.
Thanks to a wide agent network, the mobile payments giants claims to process over 60% of mobile money transactions in Nigeria. That puts it ahead of older competitors
like Paga and FirstMonie.
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For a second there, there was a lot of talk about super apps in Africa.
Most of those conversations are muted now thanks to OPay’s decision to ditch its super app ambitions to focus on its payments business. Most people figured OPay’s super app drive would work because;
a) They raised a ton of money
b) Some of their investors had also built super apps in China.
Move over OPay, there’s a new super app contender
In 2018, temtem One, a mobility startup in Algeria was launched. At first, it focused on allowing users find private riders or have orders delivered.
But last year, it raised $4 million in a Series A funding round and the company figured it might as well make a Super App play.
It now offers users services such as carpooling, home maintenance services, home healthcare services and payments.
It’s too early to tell if temtemOne will pull this off, but what if we could put temtemOne alongside other African super app contenders?
Alex did just that here in his analysis of African super app contender.