Please Fix Me Up! 😩

Cosmetic surgery is on the rise in Kenya, Nigerian farmers win a court case against shell, Cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme in South Africa.

Hello there,

Goodbye January, we thought you’d never leave. 


Fix me up! 

“I’m scaring people during Zoom meetings. They think I’m gonna die on them. Please make me look like I can do my job.”

A 75-year-old woman to her doctor in Kenya. 

What’s happening here?

In Kenya, more people are going for elective and cosmetic surgeries. 10 years ago there were only 10 registered cosmetic surgeons in Kenya. Today that number has increased by almost 100%.

What’s driving this?

Working from home. It has given people plenty of time to do cosmetic surgery and heal without asking for time off the office, while others are rethinking their images as seen on Zoom and Skype video calls.

Better technology which was not available in Kenya before. 

Social media has played a major role here. It has increased awareness of what’s possible. Many people now enter the consultation rooms with screenshots of what they want to be done.

Who exactly is asking for this again?

At first, it was mostly older female professionals, but now men are joining this trend. One doctor saw his patients’ numbers double from two to four per week during the pandemic. The patients: About 60% were Kenyans, 30% Indians, and 10% Caucasian.

Why it matters: While the pandemic means less business for some, it means more for others. Business is booming for Plastic and reconstructive doctors. 


It’s time to pay-up

After 12 years of going back and forth, an appeal court in the Netherlands has ordered Royal Dutch Shell to pay compensation to Nigerian farmers over oil pollution in the Niger Delta.  

How much are we talking about here?

It is yet to be decided, but beyond financial compensation, the farmers are also asking Shell to clean up the areas polluted by oil leakages.

Next:  Shell can pay up or appeal the decision in the Dutch Supreme Court.  

Bottom line: It’s a step forward for the farmers, but also a reminder that court cases against large corporations can drag for a long time.


The business of ‘Money Coins’

The financial world has been taken by storm since the financial crisis in 2008 and the first whitepaper for the use case for Bitcoin was released. 

This spurred the introduction of other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, XRP and Dogecoin. The values of these ‘coins’ have also grown rapidly attracting enthusiasts and investors alike. From December till date, the price worth of Bitcoin has almost doubled!

Somewhere down south…

In South Africa, cryptocurrencies are starting to be seen differently by its financial regulators. The FSCA (Financial Sector Conduct Authority) is making proposals to regulate trading in cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, XRP, and Litecoin. 

In December, The FSCA granted a provisional liquidation order (one step away from winding down) against Mirror Trading International (MTI) following an application by two investors who could not withdraw their Bitcoin.

MTI...what

MTI claimed to offer trading services for Bitcoin to increase its investors’ bitcoin exponentially by offering a 10% monthly growth. As at November 2020, it had 260,000 members and 23,000 bitcoin under its management.

The disappearing act

In the later months, its CEO, Johann Steynberg was declared missing along with 17000 bitcoin belonging to investors. This also coincided with the introduction of a multi-level marketing referral scheme aka Ponzi which led to the company’s collapse.

Zooming Out

Despite the bad rep that Ponzi schemes get across the investment ecosystem, people still tend to be attracted to them because of the possibility of exponential returns. And when you mix that with a struggling economic environment in some African countries, it's definitely a recipe for disaster.

The financial markets, however, offer great opportunities for a lot of people. For instance, African millennials have started to develop forex investing-as-a-service to people interested in investing in the foreign exchange markets.


Worth reading 📚

Quote 💭

“If you’re not drowning, you’re a lifeguard” — Seth Godin