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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.

 

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UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020: Investors urged to speed up economic role on the continent

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London, United Kingdom- January 20, 2020- UK companies must leap at the chance to deepen economic ties with Africa, a continent with unmatched investment opportunities, several African leaders said at a high-level panel.

At an oversubscribed opening ceremony for the 2020 UK-Africa Investment Summit, Monday, attended by dignitaries and delegates from 16 African countries, including President El Sisi of Egypt, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the case for bigger investments in Africa and called for increased and renewed partnership  between  the UK and Africa.

Referring to Africa as a booming continent with “staggering levels of growth,” Prime Minister Johnson said:  “Look around the world today and you will swiftly see that the UK is not only the obvious partner of choice, we’re also very much the partner of today, of tomorrow and decades to come,” he said in his opening address.

Also Read: Interview with James Lawson, Founder, Intergreatme; A RegTech Company Helping You Create Your Own Digital Identity

The UK-Africa Investment Summit, the first of its kind hosted by the UK Government, was attended by the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, the international development secretary, Alok Sharma, and Prince Harry.

The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo Addo, of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Cheikh el Ghazouani,  African  Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, and Secretary of State for International Development, MP Alok Sharma, addressed a plenary panel discussion on ‘Sustainable Finance and Infrastructure – Unlocking the City of London and UK financial services for growth in Africa.’

President Kenyatta who rang the opening bell at the London Stock Exchange (LSE) marking the launch of Kenya’s first green bond at the LSE, made the case for innovative and sustainable investments in energy infrastructure. “We all must think out of the box in terms of energy…to ensure we produce more green energy. This first-ever sovereign green bond of $41.45 million will be used to build environmentally-friendly student accommodation in Kenya.”

Responding to a question about UK-Ghana partnerships, President Nana Akufo-Addo said in a world where Africa’s wealth is undisputed, “the City of London can play a significant role in bridging Africa’s huge infrastructure gap… and LSE can be a pivot in the new relationship with the continent. Indeed, 1 in 4 consumers will live in Africa by 2030,” President Akufo-Addo said.

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina announced a new $80 million Bank-DFID infrastructure financing partnership.

According to Adesina, the continent’s $68-$108 billion infrastructure investment gap per year is massive, but it depends on how you look at it. “Either the cup is half full or half empty. To us, that is a $68-$108 billion opportunity.”

Adesina added, “The issue of risk in Africa is exaggerated. The risk of loss is lower than Latin America. Yet, funds are not being channeled into Africa. There are $8 trillion of assets under management in London, but only 1 percent is invested in Africa.”

The Bank president urged investors to look to Africa and recalled the achievements of the Africa Investment Forum – a game-changing initiative led by the African Development Bank and key partners, to accelerate investment in the continent. The unique multi-sector platform is designed to advance bankable deals to financial closure. At the 2019 Forum, which took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, deals valued at $40.1 billion secured investment interest.

President Mohamed Ould Cheikh el Ghazouani of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, shared opportunities offered by the blue ocean economy and substantial reforms currently under way to attract foreign investors.

“We have reinforced security along our coasts. Other measures include the establishment of a Council on Investment. These huge efforts are showing tremendous results and it is giving comfort to investors,” he noted.

The African continent is home to eight of the 15 fastest-growing economies in the world. By 2030, 42% of the world’s youth will be African and will constitute an incredible workforce and potential consumers.

In his concluding remarks, UK Secretary of State for International Development, MP Alok Sharma expressed confidence in the continent. “Africa has a fabulous future.” Sharma announced five partnerships to mobilise private sector investment in quality infrastructure on the continent. “The City of London can play a role in mobilizing resources for Africa,” Sharma said.

Speaking earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a major announcement on the UK’s policy on climate change.

“From today, the British government will no longer provide any new direct development assistance for thermal coal mining or coal power plants overseas,” Johnson said.

The declaration aligns with the African Development Bank’s green agenda aimed at increasing investment in renewable energy. President Adesina announced last year at the UN General Assembly that the Bank was moving away from investing in coal.

African Development Bank

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Kola Adesina Urges Investors To Focus On Access To Power At The Ongoing UK-Africa Investment Summit

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Kola Adesina, GMD Sahara Power Group

London, United Kingdom– Leading energy conglomerate, Kola Adesina of Sahara Group has urged participants at the UK-Africa Investment Summit to explore committing resources towards addressing the energy needs on the continent that is home to about 1.3 billion people.

The Summit which holds on January 20, 2020 in London, will be hosted by the Prime Minister, bringing together businesses, governments and international institutions to showcase and promote the breadth and quality of investment opportunities across Africa.

Sahara Group said UK and African businesses need to commit more funds to grid electricity development while ramping up investment in renewable energy to bring electricity to over 600 million people, a figure that is 10 times the population of the United Kingdom.

Also Read: Interview with James Lawson, Founder, Intergreatme; A RegTech Company Helping You Create Your Own Digital Identity

According to Kola Adesina, Executive Director, Sahara Group, access to power in Africa is crucial to ensuring sustainable economic growth and seamless transition to the fourth industrial revolution. “Investment in off-grid electricity will light up homes and small businesses in rural and poor communities, mostly in Sub Saharan Africa. This is an auspicious time for investors in the UK and across the globe to explore this opportunity which promises a win-win situation for all,” he stated.

Adesina said apart from having the potential to promote access to clean energy, off-grid electricity from renewable energy sources, including solar, wind and hydro, has the potential of becoming more affordable for more Africans in the long run. “The aspirations of Africa’s youth population, some 400 million people aged between 15-34 – which is about twice Europe’s entire population – rest on the decisions UK and African investors take at this summit. We can promote the agenda of bringing energy to life through enhanced access to electricity in Africa and Sahara Group is committed to spearheading this cause through more investment and collaboration,” he added.

Adesina stated that Sahara Group, with its profile as one of the largest private power business operators in Africa, was already in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on a project aimed at boosting access to sustainable energy in Africa.

He concluded that governments and businesses must work together to develop and implement a plan to transform regulatory and operational issues in the power sector. “We also need a sustained awareness plan to change the mindset of Africans to navigate from consumption to production; this will require reliable and affordable electricity. Sahara Group remains passionate about electrifying Africa and believes the time for all stakeholders to act is now.”

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), despite being home to 17% of the world’s population, Africa currently accounts for just 4% of global power supply investment. The IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2019 report found that achieving reliable electricity supply for all would require an almost fourfold increase, to around $120 billion a year through 2040, noting that mobilising this level of investment would require huge investments and thorough policy and regulatory measures to improve the financial and operational efficiency of utilities.

Sahara Group

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Future Females and Ideas Cartel are driving female-focused entrepreneurship through coworking and community

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The Future Females community isn’t only forward thinking in what they work for, but also how they work

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, January 17, 2020- Over a short period of time, the partnership between Future Females and Ideas Cartel has quickly shown the benefit of connecting like-minds in inspiring spaces, with expansion just around the corner.

From a team of two in 2017 to a present state of 26 chapters across Africa, Australia, Europe and North America; a growing online community of 30K female entrepreneurs, and now a thriving local coworking space, Future Females is a Cape Town success story worth paying attention to. 

“For early-stage solopreneurs, the process of starting a business can be a lonely one, and getting stuck in your own head is almost unavoidable. The growth of Future Females has helped combat this; the community we’ve created is a source of support, advice and encouragement that would otherwise be absent.” ~ Lauren Dallas, Co-founder of Future Females.

Source: Ideas Cartel

Apart from the obvious numbers-based growth, the real power of their rise comes from what underlies it: a shared vision for a platform that empowers female entrepreneurs to connect, be inspired, inspire others, and feel supported to create, fail and ultimately win. The movement is underpinned by a framework that helps members to maximise their four scarce resources – time, money, energy and relationships – to transform their businesses, careers and lives.

Also Read: Interview with James Lawson, Founder, Intergreatme; A RegTech Company Helping You Create Your Own Digital Identity

The Future Females community isn’t only forward thinking in what they work for, but also how they work. Inner City by Ideas Cartel (http://bit.ly/2Rl9DKq) has been a crucial growth partner in this regard; providing a beautifully curated, inspiring work environment in which the company could not only comfortably scale, but thrive in the process.

“We’re so proud to have Future Females as part of the entrepreneurial community at Ideas Cartel. Their story is inspiring, and has also acted as a proof point for us – that the Inner City spaces we’ve built are doing their part to create connection, drive innovation and support growth.”
~ Schuyler Vorster, Founder of Ideas Cartel

As one of Ideas Cartel’s four business pillars, Inner City focuses on creating thoughtful, resilient workspaces for ambitious entrepreneurs, freelancers, creatives and business travellers. These inspiring spaces are intentionally crafted to facilitate an essential element of innovation: connection—connection with people, places and spaces; of ideas, perspectives and purpose.

Source: Ideas Cartel

In September 2019, Future Females moved into their own private space to launch one of the first female-focused South African workspaces, at Ideas Cartel’s 113 Loop Street premises. The design of the space was based on feedback from a co-creation workshop held with potential tenants, to ensure it met the requirements of the community it would serve.

Launching on 1 February, 2020, the expanded coworking space includes Hot Desks, Fixed Desks and Private Offices. Future Females members can also access the rooftop pool.

Source: Ideas Cartel

“You become like the people you surround yourself with. We’ve created a space where everyone shares the same vision and is there to support one another on the entrepreneurial journey.”
~ Sasha Zakharova, Program Manager of Future Females

Source: Ideas Cartel

Future Females and Ideas Cartel share a belief in the entrepreneurial lifestyle—a wholesome, holistic approach to working life, fueled by passion and a desire to drive change in the world. The Future Females coworking space is a reflection of this belief, where everyone is supported in working towards their goals. If you want to become a member, sign up here (http://bit.ly/2TsZP3C) or email [email protected] for more information.

Ideas Cartel

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