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Making access to credit and loan repayment available to anyone, anywhere

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Pocket Money has come up with a marketplace that offers a multi-layered solution that ensures that the borrower is introduced to various potential lenders.

KAMPALA, Uganda, May 13, 2019 – Over the past few years, there has been a proliferation of new fintech models, offering alternative financial solutions to the conventional set-ups, more so in the lending sub-sector in Africa. New horizons in the African financial industry are evident with new trends gaining strong traction especially through peer-to-peer (P2P) models-allowing such distinct niches as consumers, SMEs and other borrowers who were hitherto ignored by conventional lenders to access loans more efficiently and expeditiously via digital lending technology.

Be that as it may, financial pundits lament that credit extension in Africa lags behind other regions, noting that while the ratio of credit is only 18 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa, comparable figures in South Asia and Latin America are 37 percent and 47 percent respectively.

However, hope is in the air though, with Pocket Money, a digital lending marketplace, determined to transform the financial fortunes of borrowers in Africa by pioneering a ‘cyclic’ lending system that will provide a breath of fresh air even to potential borrowers who had previously been ‘rejected’ by lenders within Pocket Money’s ecosystem.

To address this challenge, Pocket Money has come up with a marketplace that offers a multi-layered solution that ensures that the borrower is introduced to various potential lenders, offering more alternatives that provide the likelihood of a borrower to finally access the loan in the long run.

For instance, more often than not, a borrower may approach a lender for a microloan in cash, but the application, for one reason or another, is rejected, leaving the borrower with very few, or no options at all. The dilemma for the borrower becomes a nightmare especially if he’s a traveler in some regions of the world where access to an online lender is either limited or non-existent-a dire situation that means the end of the road for the borrower.

It is such a predicament that Pocket Money, which is now committed to officially stamp its footprint in Africa, is set to inhibit by developing a global marketplace in which the rejected loan applications are circulated and resubmitted to licensed lenders all over the world with a view to providing them with another chance of accessing the loan. Pocket Money’s ultimate aim is to make this technology available to everyone so that the echo of financial inclusion can resonate in every corner of the world, irrespective of geographic location. By doing so, it has created a marketplace for financial services that brings together financial service providers, customers, and investors into a single global stage.

According to CEO and Co-Founder of Pocket Money, Stefano Virgili, the new marketplace seeks to expand Africa’s financial ecosystem to have a real impact on financial inclusion on the continent.

“Through this unique system that links an array of potential lenders to borrowers, we are able to create a larger pool of clients who will in essence provide revenue sharing with lending businesses located across the world while the borrowers can connect with lenders around the world, breaking the barriers that prevented them from borrowing money from a competitive global marketplace”, says Stefano.

“Conversely”, adds, Stefano, “tech partners can connect to Pocket Money network and develop apps to integrate with fintech solutions while investors can participate in the Pocket Money fundraising as well as the backing of new loans”.

Stefano laments the challenges faced by borrowers in Africa including not having a credit history, therefore, rendering credit scoring almost impossible, loan application rejection partly due to the above or other criteria deficiencies, interests on loans that are prohibitively high, not having enough funds to repay loans, and not being able to borrow from someone abroad, while some lenders face the challenge of running out of cash to service borrowers.

“Pocket Money, therefore, offers solutions to these challenges by innovatively using technology, expanding the financial marketplace and strategic social engagement that reduces the risk of default. These solutions include creating a unique socially enabled Pocket Money Credit Profile that addresses the challenges of credit scoring which is a common criterion used to access borrowers’ repayment risk”, he adds.

Through the new technology, a borrower’s application is circulated through other lenders globally to increase the likelihood of getting a loan. The system ensures that the lender who wins the bid is the one offering the lowest interest, enabling borrowers to have access to competitive repayment rates.

The system, a new fintech technological phenomenon in Africa, is destined to be sweet music to borrowers in Africa for it will significantly attract and increase more aspiring borrowers, thus fostering financial inclusion on the continent.

Suffice it to say, Pocket Money is the easiest way to gain access to credit when rejected by a lender. However, lenders may also face the challenges that include risky borrowers’ profile which might expose financial service providers to uncertainty, unavailability of borrowers in certain markets and the risk posed by manual processes which might have an impact on time and quality of records.

These risks are nevertheless, mitigated by Pocket Money Credit Profile that provides hundreds of data points that give lenders a better risk analysis assessment. Through the marketplace too, lenders can bid on rejected applications anywhere in the world, ensuring there is no scarcity of potential borrowers.

Stefano explains that the Pocket Money ecosystem encompasses a strategic social engagement platform that enables participation with friends and families in surveys and micro tasks to earn loan credits that are particularly beneficial to cooperatives and groups like savings and credit societies as well as informal saving groups at places of work or among friends.

“Further, forex exchange rates in real-time used in this marketplace also facilitate a multi-currency wallet that allows sending money around the world in local currencies. This tool does not only service borrowers and lenders but also serves remittance payments in emerging economies”, says Stefano “in fact, it protects lenders by settling all the B2B transactions in USD.”

He adds that the marketplace is a multi-faceted platform that incorporates simple and intuitive lender dashboard developed by Pocket Money allowing for efficiency in saving processing time and ease of access to borrowers wherever they may be.

The marketplace also supports licensed lenders to ensure their sustainability by supporting some of their cash flow and liquidity challenges through loans made directly to borrowers, provision of third-party lenders and borrowers who use Pocket Money tools and borrowing money at low-interest rates and lending out at slightly higher rates for the service provided.

With Pocket Money, borrowers with high default risks are supported in paying back loans through social repay.

Depending on the country’s availability, Pocket Money users, whether they have borrowed or not, might receive micro-tasks, such as verifying that a billboard contains the poster that the advertiser has paid for, answering a survey, etc.

Such micro-tasks are paid for by brands through existing third-party apps. Each app might reward in a different digital currency, like Smiles for example. The currency can then be used in Pocket Money wallet to purchase USD vouchers that can be gifted to borrowers (i.e. family and friends) or purchased to offset your own loan.

All in All, Pocket Money not only benefits lenders, borrowers and investors; it also helps borrowers to pay back their loans through the use of innovative interoperability payment systems.

The marketplace uses today’s technology in a way that allows individual components of the financial services ecosystem to be open and connected to each other in such a way that was not possible before, creating solutions that are greater than the sum of the individual parts.

Partner lenders such as banks, financial services providers, telecommunication companies and governments who can act as underwriters for loan services will have an opportunity to operate in this marketplace with the advantage of having a larger market of customers locally, regionally and internationally.

Currently domiciled in Singapore, Pocket Money is now set on establishing its footprints in Africa, trailblazing what is destined to be a unique credit-lending marketplace that will undoubtedly transform the continent’s lending sub-sector.

Pocket Money.

 

Press Release

Journey Wellness, an AI-Enabled, Personalised Healthcare Platform Launches in South Africa

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Journey Wellness Co-Founders, Dr. Jacques Ludik and Laura Wayburne (Image: Nomsa Mdhluli)

Journey Wellness, an AI-Enabled, Personalised Healthcare Platform set to Revolutionize Wellness & Healthcare in South Africa. The Platform will transform business employee benefits and medical schemes’ approach to offering wellness for employees and medical aid members.

A revolutionary new approach to offering Ultra-Personalised, Artificial Intelligence-Enabled Healthcare from tech-trendsetting company Cortex Logic is set to transform the way medical aid schemes, consumers and corporates offering employee benefits as part of their EAP (Employee Assistance Programmes) view their current healthcare offering.

The Journey Wellness platform is perfectly timed to coincide with the current global shift in Healthcare, as the focus moves from a disease-management model to one that encourages optimum health and disease-avoidance, targeting younger as well as existing members with a holistic, pro-active offering.

Corporates and medical schemes are realising that they need to offer their employees and members wellness and EAP benefits that move beyond expensive, reactive, chemical care to cost-effective, proactive preventative primary care.

“Globally, an ever-increasing portion of healthcare spend and focus is shifting to promote wellness and wellbeing, rather than responding to illness,” says Lara Wayburne, a respected Healthcare Actuary consulting to Cortex Logic and part of the development team of the Journey Wellness Platform.

“Healthcare analysts predict that over the coming decade the focus on wellness and wellbeing can reduce overall healthcare costs by as much as 30%.”

“Journey Wellness enables that future by empowering and engaging consumers to better understand the drivers that impact their health and therefore be more actively involved in managing their own health. By doing so, the Journey Wellness ecosystem encourages positive health seeking behaviour, promoting better physical and mental health,” says Wayburne.

The driving force behind Journey Wellness, Dr Jacques Ludik, Founder and CEO of Cortex Logic, who has also recently written a book called ‘Democratizing Artificial Intelligence to Benefit Everyone’, says that the Journey Wellness platform will provide more healthcare, to more people, faster.

“Essentially, Journey is a cost-effective, pro-active, personalised and engaged AI health companion that will improve health outcomes for everyone involved – the medical scheme provider, employers, employees, healthcare providers and ultimately the end-user consumer who will benefit from personalised, proactive healthcare with the added benefits of cost savings all-round,” says Dr Ludik.

Journey Wellness offers a number of benefits for Medical Schemes, Corporates and End-Users:

Employer Groups and Medical Scheme providers will benefit from the cost savings inherent in moving from expensive, reactive, chemical care to cost-effective, proactive preventative primary care for their members and employees. This will result in increased productivity, increased employee engagement, reduced absenteeism and cost-savings to all involved.

Healthcare Providers will benefit from having a 360-degree view of their patients that will improve wellness proactively without costly chemical intervention, usually at the reactive stage and will also empower patients with continuous self-care.

And, Consumers will benefit from a Holistic Wellness Solution and the reduced need for expensive healthcare options, improved wellbeing, rewards for engagement and ultimately having a personalised wellness coach on hand at all times to help them understand their health status and associated risks and better manage their health and improve quality of life.

“Overall, it’s a win-win scenario in which technology, data and analytics foster a collaborative and progressive healthcare environment, creating an ecosystem for improved wellbeing one step at a time that benefits everyone,” says Wayburne.

Journey Wellness has also made an exciting announcement around making the Platform’s Mental Health Module available for free to users from 1 September 2021.

“We realise that the current state of affairs globally, and in South Africa in particular, with pandemic lockdowns and economic uncertainty foremost on our minds, places an enormous amount of pressure on people. So, we’re offering free access to our Mental Health Module to users, where they can access an AI-enabled mental health companion 24/7,” says Dr Ludik.

The Journey Wellness Demo Platform for Corporate Employers and Medical Schemes is available at www.journeywellness.co.za, and for Consumers, the User App is available as a free download for Android and iOS devices at Google Play and App Store. Medical schemes and Employers looking to offer Journey Wellness to their members can interact directly with Journey Wellness by requesting a demo via the website.

 

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Investment

Chaka secures $1.5M pre-seed round to power digital investments and wealth management opportunities across Africa

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Chaka CEO, Tosin Osibodu at a press briefing (Image & Press Release: Chaka)

Chaka is thrilled to announce its $1.5M pre-seed funding round led by Breyer Capital, a global venture firm focused on catalyzing growth in high-impact companies like Spotify, Facebook, and now, Chaka. Other participants in the round are 4DX Ventures, Golden Palm Investments, Future Africa, Seedstars, and Musha Ventures.

Chaka is a technology solutions company on a mission to enable every business and person in Africa to access borderless digital investment and wealth management opportunities. The team combines investment expertise and best-in-class technology to provide reliable digital Investing, trading and wealth management solutions that are easy-to-use and easy-to-integrate.

Their mission is to enable digital border-less investing for African businesses and individuals. They’re powering the digital investment landscape in Africa through partnerships with asset managers, financial technology firms, and regulators with whom we have a shared mission. We achieve this by providing trading solutions that are easy to use and easy to integrate.

With this capital, they will focus on the goals to build a roster of formidable partners and accelerate expansion to other markets within West Africa. This investment also enables them to hire top talent and integrate more advanced functionalities into our investment and wealth management solutions.

Jim Breyer, CEO of Breyer Capital, shared his view on this investment and it illustrates their shared vision: “We are proud to align ourselves with a company that is leveling the investment playing field for Nigerians (and Africans at large). We’re confident in the value Chaka provides through its digital tools, and we look forward to playing our part in supporting Tosin, Bo, Olaolu, and the Chaka team.”

This is a significant milestone for Chaka and could not have come this far without their users, partners, early investors, and a talented, achieving team of Champions.

They see digital investments as a means to boost economic transformation in Africa, and we’re very keen to bring this vision to life.

 

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Manufacturing

Emmanuel Penneh set to lead the Ghanaian team that will re-assemble the first Nissan Navara made in Ghana

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Emmanuel Penneh (Image: Lusawovana Pius- edelman) 

Emmanuel Penneh arrived back in Accra this week, ready to start the next phase of a journey that’s taken three years so far and still has an intensive eight months to run. On Thursday 3 June 2021, the married 44-year-old father of three graduated with his team of 11 Ghanaians from an intense eight-week course at Nissan South Africa’s Rosslyn manufacturing plant outside Pretoria. That was just the first step for them. Now the hard work begins, getting Ghana’s brand-new Nissan assembly plant in Tema, outside Accra, ready to begin re-assembling the first ever Nissan Navaras to be built in Africa early in the New Year.

The graduation is a critical milestone in a process that began back in 2018 with the signing of the landmark Memorandum of Understanding between Nissan and the Government of Ghana, followed by the drafting and promulgation of Ghana’s automotive development policy the following year and then the appointment of Japan Motors Trading Company (JMTC), as Nissan’s preferred partner last year to ensure that the new facility will be 100% Ghana owned and run.

Penneh is up for the challenge. Speaking at the special graduation ceremony held at the Rosslyn, SKD plant, he said he and his team were proud and honoured, excited and delighted. “This is a historic evolution for Nissan Ghana, Nissan South Africa and Nissan worldwide. This is the plant where the Nissan Navara is being made for the first time in Africa, by Africans for Africa, now we are going home to re-assemble the first Navara made in Ghana for Ghana by Ghanaians!”

Penneh will be the plant manager. It’s a feather in the cap for the 10-year JMTC veteran. Before being approached to lead the team, Penneh was service co-ordinator for the group’s aftersales operations, overseeing five workshops across Ghana. He’s been in the automotive industry for 14 years, with four years at Man Truck Ghana before he joined JMTC.

“It’s exciting,” he says, “it gives a new dimension to my career. After concentrating on the after sales aspect, I’m now coming into the industry that actually builds the vehicles.”

The eight-week training that the team underwent in South Africa had been gruelling, he said, they had no idea what to expect. “It was challenging coming fresh into this industry and discovering so many processes and rules and mastering them, but it’s been exciting.”

He’s exceptionally proud of the team he led to South Africa and the way they’ve conducted themselves. “This (the creation of a Nissan assembly plant in Ghana) is going to be a game changer for ourselves, but also for our country, creating jobs, upskilling people and creating opportunities for local brand ownership.”

 

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