Twiva and Shortlist launch 0% interest device financing facility for Kenyan influencers & content creators

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Twiva, a Kenyan Influencer-powered social commerce platform boasting a network of over 11,000 influencers, has partnered with Shortlist, a recruitment platform connecting African talent with startups, to launch a device financing facility, facilitated by zero-interest loans earmarked for the purchase of essential devices such as cameras, laptops, and mobile phones.

Twiva and Shortlist say the move is expected help thousands of Kenyan youth to access devices to embark on their career paths and bridge the gap between digital opportunities and the talent pool in Kenya. The initiative, funded by the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment (CFYE), endeavors to create and enhance over 8,500 jobs in the cloud work sector for Kenyan youth. It aims to provide formal employment opportunities for early career professionals in the global digital economy.

“Many young individuals in the content creation arena face the challenge of inconsistent income, making it difficult for them to afford coveted gadgets like the iPhone 14 or 15, or the MacBook they aspire to own. To address this, we’re providing them with an opportunity to contribute a minimum of 15% and repay the remaining amount over the course of a year. This approach makes it more manageable for them to plan their finances effectively and acquire the devices they desire,” explained Peter Kironji, CEO and Co-founder at Twiva.

To be eligible for this exclusive offer, a minimum downpayment of 15% of the device’s total cost is required. The remaining balance can be conveniently settled through monthly payments spread over a flexible period ranging from 3 to 12 months. Importantly, to ensure financial feasibility, your monthly payment commitment should not surpass 25% of your gross monthly income. This structured payment plan is designed to accommodate your financial capacity, providing a pathway to ownership that aligns with your income levels and promotes financial sustainability over the repayment period.

Recent survey findings indicate that a substantial 73% of Kenyans are grappling with severe financial distress or struggling to meet their basic needs. According to a survey by Infotrack released last week, a significant 18% of Kenyans are in severe financial distress, while an additional 55% are facing challenges in making ends meet.

Grace Gikonyo, Head of Marketing & PR at Twiva, shed light on the financial landscape among influencers, stating, “Through extensive market research conducted among our pool of 11,000 influencers, we discovered that a majority rely on Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services. Interestingly, the utilization of BNPL leads to influencers spending nearly 80% more when opting for buy now, pay later services.”

Of late, there has been a surge in cases where Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) agencies exploit their clientele. These agencies extend their goods and services to a demographic that may currently struggle with affordability, thereby tapping into a larger market. A notable incident highlighted by the People Daily Newspaper recounted an individual who ended up paying KSh 211,200 after 18 months. The financial burden was exacerbated by M-pesa transaction charges of KSh 27 for every transaction, coupled with a KSh 12,000 deposit. Consequently, the individual incurred a total cost of KSh 237,456 for an item with a market price ranging between KSh 100,000 and KSh 130,000.

“The surging popularity of BNPL services prompted us to initiate a pilot study on their usage. While the findings may not be statistically significant due to the small sample size, the study revealed that young consumers, particularly those between the ages of 18 and 35, exhibit the highest reliance on online BNPL services. The primary motivations cited by consumers for opting for these services included budget constraints, an inability to pay the full price of a product or service upfront, and a desire to avoid interest and fees,” explained Austen Stranahan, Chief Operating Officer at Shortlist.

This trend has gained traction on social media platforms, notably TikTok, where influencers collaborate with Lipa Later companies to promote these services through engaging skits, songs, and dances. Affordability has long been a hurdle for influencers aiming to enhance content quality and boost their social media presence. Through this strategic partnership, Shortlist and Twiva are on a mission to empower influencers by providing them access to cutting-edge devices. This empowerment, in turn, facilitates the elevation of social media content, accelerating the influencers’ careers.