Sunday, 23 June 2019

According to a report released in 2018 by the National Credit Regulator, of the 25 million ‘credit-active’ consumers in South Africa, a frightening 10 million were behind in their loan repayments.  Even the World Bank has deemed South Africa to be the most indebted country in the world.

While regulators and accounting rules are looking to strengthen how risk is managed, we can’t seem to stop the need to consume more credit at a household level. South Africans have been hit hard by fluctuating fuel prices in the past year. The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) announced an increase in levies for power, which could see consumers in the red. With the increased cost of living, Debt Rescue’s Livhuwani Naledzani has noted an increase in consumers who have approached the company, asking for assistance in clearing their debt.

While President Cyril Ramaphosa and his cabinet try to salvage the economy, businesses have to start pondering on the use of collections analytics as a more efficient way of dealing with debt. The best way to balance regulations, costs, demand and capacity is analytics, in particular mathematical optimisation. Not every organisation will realise this off the bat, but those interested in achieving true competitive collections competence will look to analytic models, decision engines and automated, omni-channel communications.

FICO South Africa Country Manager Derick Cluley acknowledges the need for AI in local institutions.

“AI-powered analytics can improve automation in collections in many areas, from optimizing contact strategy settings to ensuring human agents make sophisticated decisions when restructuring debts or even calculating the right remedial action on whether to sell, keep or place debt with an external agency and if the latter, which one, at what expected account level yield?,” Cluley said.

 In a 2018 survey conducted at FICO’s FutureCollect event in Tokyo, seven out of ten senior collections managers revealed they plan to implement and integrate AI into their collections systems within the next two years.

This finding was consistent with FICO’s insights on AI last year, predicting companies will focus on operationalising AI. Almost half (48 percent) of banks believe that the use of AI will help them optimise their collection decisions, while 41 percent believe it will enable them to accurately predict consumer behaviour.

Artificial Intelligence may seem a distant wish for many, but FICO has repeatedly driven business value for clients who:

  • Can provide access to data
  • Know their objectives) – or the KPIs they wish to move
  • Understand the constraints they need to work within – including regulatory, financial, and operational constraints

And we have evidence that AI and automation works in collections. Banks that use automated collections to contact customers indicated it leads to faster bill payment. The time taken to collect payments was reduced by anywhere from two days to two weeks.

Will smart robots be contacting you in the future when you miss a payment? It’s looking increasingly likely.


By Doug Clare. Vice President at FICO.

Published in Engineering

Andy Ruiz Jr insists he will again defeat Anthony Joshua in their rematch - because the Brit is "not good at boxing".

The unfancied challenger stunned unbeaten Joshua at Madison Square Garden on June 1 to claim his world heavyweight title belts. It has set up a huge rematch set to take place in late November or early December with Joshua still considered the overwhelming favourite to avenge his defeat.

But Ruiz is adamant things will be no different - vowing to put in an even better performance to prove his triumph was far from a fluke.

“The rematch is gonna be the same," Ruiz declared.

"I’m gonna be more prepared, more ready.

“I know his flaws, I can do a lot better. I think the only thing he can do is just run around.

“He’s not good at boxing, he’s not a good boxer.

“It’s going to be a hell of a fight – Ruiz vs Joshua II.”

Plenty of conspiracy theories have emerged to try and explain Joshua's unexpected loss after a lacklustre performance at Madison Square Garden.

Ruiz became Mexico's first world heavyweight champion with his win[Courtesy]

But Ruiz insists people are overlooking the fact he was simply beaten by a "hungry" fighter who was determined to make history as the first Mexican to win a world heavyweight title.

“I think his people are trying to get something [to explain] why he lost like that," Ruiz added.

“But he fought a hungry guy, I was hungry, I was mentally focussed for that fight.

“I did not wanna lose in front of my family or get beat up in front of my family.”

Eddie Hearn has confirmed the rematch will take place later this year, with Joshua currently keen on a Madison Square Garden return to right the wrongs of June 1.

A UK stadium fight at Wembley, Tottenham's new stadium or the Principality Stadium in Cardiff could also happen.


Source: By Mirror

Published in World

The Ugandan government has slapped Kenyan poultry processors with import quotas.

This comes a week after the Kenyan government lifted a two-year ban on poultry products from Uganda following an Avian flu outbreak in 2017.

In a letter by Uganda Commissioner of Animal Health at the Ministry of Agriculture Dr Ann Rose Ademun, Kenyan poultry processors are only allowed to export into Uganda 2,000kg of smoked chicken sausages for four months.

“We will only allow (processed chicken) import from Kenya for a period of four months and only 2,000kg of chicken sausages,” part of the letter reads. Ademun said the move is to protect Uganda’s poultry industry. “In order to promote and support the Uganda government goal on the development of meat industry, the Department of Animal Health wishes to advise you to source for meat (chicken) products on the local market. We shall allow import for a short time not exceeding four months from now,” Dr Ademun said in a letter to one of the poultry industry players.

“Your organisation is, therefore, encouraged to buy local machinery equipment for chicken products processing and production of quality products to support government national effort as well as access to export trade.”

Kenya imports about 35,000kg of Uganda poultry weekly. However, given the porous nature of the borders, the number could be higher. The import restriction has generated an unhealthy competition and supremacy war between the two East African Community (EAC) countries. The trade spat may hurt both Kenyan and Ugandan farmers.

In 2017, Kenya banned the importation of chicken products from Uganda due to an outbreak of the Avian influenza virus. Uganda retaliated by banning the importation of Kenyan poultry products.
Upon the resolution of the outbreak, the two countries agreed to allow the resumption in trade. Uganda, however, continues to impose the ban on Kenyan products, insisting they are protecting their local industry.
Spirit of EAC

Paul Makau, a large-scale poultry farmer and the chairman of the United Broiler Farmers Association, said Uganda’s move negates the spirit of the EAC Common Market Protocol, which allows for free movement of goods, labour, services, and capital.

“The new development means that the Uganda poultry products have free access to the Kenyan market while the Kenyan products are regulated from accessing the Ugandan market,” he said.
Kenya’s poultry industry contributes about two per cent of the country’s gross domestic product. The impact is bigger given that most households in rural areas rear chicken for commercial purposes and their activities are not recorded.

The industry’s growth is powered by health-conscious consumers who prefer poultry meat to red meat. On average, Kenyans ate 2.6kgs of poultry meat in 2018 a slight increase from 2.3kg in 2017.


Source: Standard Media Kenya

Published in Business
  1. Opinions and Analysis


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