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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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Sahara Group Canvasses More Investment In Africa’s E&P Business

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Paris France: June 25, 2019 – Oil and Gas businesses in Africa need to intensify exploration efforts to guarantee reserve replacement and enhanced capacity to meet growing demand and global competition, Olajumoke Ajayi, Managing Director, Asharami Energy (A Sahara Group Upstream Company), has told participants at the Oil and Gas Council’s Africa Assembly in Paris.

Ajayi noted that Africa’s large volumes of undiscovered oil and gas makes the continent a veritable frontier for investment, adding that operators need to adopt new technology, explore alternative cost saving measures, ensure sustainable community relations, and build diverse multidisciplinary teams to ensure successful exploration projects.

In her presentation, “Renewing Players Commitment to Exploration and the Importance of Community Engagement in Capital Intensive Projects”, Ajayi cited the downturn in global oil prices and the corresponding negative effect on investor funds and returns as factors that have made a good number of Exploration and Production (E&P) companies in Africa cut down on investments, delay Final Investment Decision (FID) or totally stop embarking on new capital projects.

“Consequently, producing companies continue to pump oil from operated mature fields thereby depleting existing reserves with non-corresponding efforts for reserve replacement via new exploration discoveries. The big question remains whether or not E&P players should commit to exploration and how players can justify this commitment in the face of lower oil prices,” she stated.

According to Ajayi, the compelling case for the relevance of hydrocarbons in the future, in addition to huge investments on new technology, responsible and intentional community engagement will play a significant role in creating a stable and conducive environment for exploration and production. “Sahara Group’s exploration success story is being driven by a combination of technology, innovation and community management expertise. At Sahara, we are intentionally committed to creating a sustainable balance between our projects and host communities to ensure the creation of shared value for all stakeholders.”

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Going by the PwC Oil and Gas Review 2018, proven oil reserves in Africa have stayed at the same level of 7.5% of global reserves. The report also notes that exploration activity continued to decline in 2017. “The consequences of modest recovery in exploration spending and a continued decline in new discoveries are unavoidable and imminent. The International Energy Agency and various players in the oil industry have warned of demand exceeding supply as oil demand continues to grow and investment in projects is deferred,” the report stated. The report adds that Africa’s oil and gas consumption is predicted to increase by 45%, increasing its global share 5.1% by 2050.

Ajayi said strategic community engagements eliminate community interference in operations of capital projects that may lead to significant downtime; ensure that the host community understands its role as a project stakeholder and treats projects as commonwealth source for the people; reduce security breach as community representatives serves as infrastructure surveillance outfit; and promoting easy negotiations for Freedom To Operate (FTO) and Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU).

– Sahara Group

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Moustafa Madbouli witnesses signing of agreement with Mercedes-Benz on car assembly

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Mercedes-Benz A-class cars are displayed in a dealership of German car manufacturer Daimler in Paris, July 30, 2013. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

STUTTGART, Germany – 24 June 2019: Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli on Monday witnessed the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Egyptian government and German automaker Mercedes-Benz to boost bilateral cooperation in auto industry.

The deal is meant to establish an engineering hub for Mercedes-Benz in the Suez Canal area for assembling and manufacturing of automobiles, the premier said.

This comes as part of the state’s strategy to support the intelligent transportation system and electricity-powered means of public transport, the premier added.

He noted that the agreement represents a quantum leap in Egypt’s auto industry, asserting that Mercedes-Benz hub will not just serve Egypt, bu also the whole region.

Madbouli is currently on a visit to Germany to take part in the 22nd session of the Arab-German economic forum. He is accompanied by a high-level delegation grouping the ministers of international cooperation, electricity, petroleum, communications, trade and industry in addition to a number of businessmen.

– Egypt Today

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Taxify, now Bolt, launches Bolt for Business in SA

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Bolt Image: Techcentral

DURBAN –  Bolt has launched Bolt for Business, allowing companies of all sizes to manage and pay for corporate trips via a single, easy-to-use portal.

This addition to the Bolt range of services broadens the positive impact of on-demand transport for businesses, as companies can now democratise access to jobs by removing the ‘own transport required’ condition for employment, and have access to a simple service offering for employees and clients alike.

They can do this by allocating a monthly budget through the Bolt platform to individual employees, ensuring that all employees who travel for business enjoy the benefits of affordable and reliable personal transport without the often prohibitive costs associated with vehicle ownership.

“We have launched Bolt for Business after noticing that a growing number of Bolt trips are taken for business purposes during working hours, whether it’s commuting to work, rushing to client meetings or getting to the airport,” said Gareth Taylor, country manager for Bolt South Africa.

He added, “In a country with unreliable public transport and high costs of car ownership, Bolt for Business offers a convenient and cost-efficient solution to business travel. It also provides an alternative transport option for the many young people entering the workplace who cannot yet afford their own vehicle, or who actively choose to not buy a car”.

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In addition, Bolt for Business is the perfect solution for entrepreneurs and SMEs, where time is money and hours spent in traffic can be put to better use if someone else – like a driver on the Bolt platform – is driving.

Bolt for Business gives companies the ability to offer employee groups, clients and recruits the option to utilise the Bolt service at the company’s expense, and gives account managers the ability to set and customise spending allowances and the number of trips employees can take.

The digitised travel management solution, available on desktop and mobile, saves businesses time and money by storing all the information about their employees’ corporate Bolt trips on a single dashboard. Paying for trips is quick and easy: instead of reimbursing each individual employee, companies can pay Bolt once a month via a bank transfer.

“Bolt for Business is so much more than an efficient expenses management tool – it removes workplace discrimination based on access to vehicle ownership and offers a strategic use of time spent on the road, demonstrating again the positive impact that on-demand transportation  services can have on the South African economy,” added Taylor.

Additional functionalities such as adding restrictions to specific times and locations for taking trips, as well as a prepaid payment method, will be added to Bolt for Business later this year.

Bolt for Business is available in more than 30 markets across Europe and Africa.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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