Stories

28-Year-Old Tanzanian Enterpreneur And Former TV Talk Show Host Create A Hassle-Free, Offfline Money Payment Platform

Benjamin Fernandes is a Tanzanian entrepreneur and TV talk show host in Tanzania who have recently created a hassle-free, offline mobile money payment platform to make sending money to the continent cheaper. Benjamin Fernandes co-founded Nala following the frustrations of some Africans in the diaspora with mobile money payment services.

Africans biggest challenge in the diaspora is the ability to remit to their relatives through safe and cheaper means. Despite the existence of many banking solutions, Africans in the diaspora continue to face multiple challenges sending money home, particularly, irregular migrants.

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The app is live in Tanzania and other African countries including Uganda has over 250,000 users. The app makes it easier for users to send money to anyone on any device. All one has to do is download the app to start transacting.

In Tanzania and other parts of Africa, internet penetration is low. Nala’s offline solution mode allows users to send money without data or internet services and at no extra cost.

Fernandes was a television host of youth talk shows and sports shows in Tanzania. He migrated to the U.S. for his first degree at the evangelical Christian University of Northwestern in St. Paul. At the university, the former TV host took interest in economics. He received a full scholarship to school at Stanford through the school’s Africa MBA Fellowship in 2014 and moved back to America.

“I took the two years at Stanford to learn everything I can about fintech,” Fernandes recalled. “In the summer I started working at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and that’s where I met Sam Castle. He was a Ph.D. student at Washington researching mobile payments in MENA and Sub-Saharan Africa.

After Fernandes’ studies, he returned home and started working on Nala while convincing Castle to come on board. Fernandes was a previous winner of the Seedstars Tanzania and the Ecobank Fintech Challenge.

Nala announced in January that it was planning to roll out its beta app targeting UK customers sending back remittances to Uganda and Kenya this year, according to Tech in Africa. This payment option will also be available to Tanzanian customers.

Fernandes said Nala does not only make it easy for people to transact, but also provides users with insight into their accounts. “The offline application allows us to build trust, which is the backbone for any company in the financial services industry,” he said, according to cardrates.com. “As we build that trust, we can enable and leverage other services to layer on top of what we’re already doing.”

His goal is to operate in at least 30 countries. Since the app was launched in Tanzania and expanded to Uganda, it has seen a massive subscription. “I wish I could build 15 different fintech companies in Africa because there’s so much that needs to be done,” he said. “Most people think it’s easy, but it’s not. If it were easy, everyone would do it.”

Fernandes attributes the success of his business to building trust. “That means we always have to let users know what we’re doing and what security measures we’re taking with our application,” he said.

Salone Messenger and Africa is proud of Benjamin Fernandes and Nala

Source: Face2faceAfrica

 

Sallu Kamuskay

Sallu Kamuskay is a Sierra Leonean activist, storyteller, and blogger. He was born in Sierra Leone but later relocated to Guinea as a refugee because of the war in his country. Sallu Kamuskay uses his phone to engage on social media, under the name ‘’Salone Messenger’. He Co-Founded the Salone Messenger platform after his experience of the war, Ebola, and injustices. According to him, silence was the root cause of war, and of many social injustices, we continue to face as a nation. In 2013, during the Ebola crisis, Sallu Kamuskay took the risk and volunteered to fight Ebola. He spent some months in both safe and unsafe places; helping the victims and telling their sad stories. The election in 2018, left a divided country with communities fighting on tribal lines. This inspired Sallu Kamuskay to serve as the coordinator of the United Sierra Leone peace concert, which was organized in 4 major parts of the country, targeting violent communities and troubled youth. Sallu Kamuskay led a group of entertainers, activists, and organizations across the country on a peace tour, a program supported by the European Union, United Sierra Leone, Africa Union, ECOWAS, and the Messeh Leone Trust. Sallu Kamuakay has also served as a staff writer for the Hidden Voices Magazine. Over the years, Sallu Kamuskay has been using his Techno phone to be able to tell stories, the phone he used to tell the story of Gbessay during Ebola who was admitted at one of the Ebola treatment centers after rumors that she had Ebola when the actual sickness was ulcer, she was almost abandoned at the treatment canter with no medication provided to her. She could have died. Sallu told the story via social media and was able to secure funding from the United Sierra Leone to buy her medication and advocated for her. She was later discharged and taken home, He did the same to a patient that died and was abandoned in the street, Sallu Kamuskay used his phone and shared the message across, the corps was later taken and buried. It could have been more disaster without his voice. The story of late America Stress 3-year-old daughter. The hero’s daughter was abandon after his father's death. He shared her sad story and was able to get a sister who has taken the child as her own and is currently providing her with educational support. The article of America Stress can be read on the link below http://ayvnewspaper.com/index.php/k2-categories/item/7350-america-stress-a-hero-to-recognize. Sallu Kamuskay feels the stories of Gbessay, America stress and that of many others need to be told. The media house we have cannot better tell these stories, they are better reporters than telling human interest stories. He created the Salone Messenger platform and brought together passionate storytellers to be able to tell these compelling stories.

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