Connect with us

Artificial Intelligence

The Gambia’s Pathway to Prosperity

Vlad Poptamas

Published

on

Photo source: travellingtom.com
Reading Time: 6 minutes

 

Good Morning, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to express my appreciation to Minister Njie for the kind introduction. It is a pleasure to be here today in Banjul to speak to such a distinguished audience at this moment of new possibilities for The Gambia.

You represent a true cross-section of this society—reflecting many different interests but sharing the hopes of all Gambians. These hopes found expression in the peaceful political transition of 2017. In just two days here, I am struck with admiration by the energy, determination, and patience of this nation. You have embraced your country’s challenges and opportunities, and your efforts are beginning to bear fruit. What I have sensed is a road to hope and a bright future. Or, in other words, a pathway to prosperity. This is what I would like to address in the time I have this morning.

Let me first set the stage by offering a quick overview of the economic setting in sub-Saharan Africa and The Gambia. As you know, the region has benefited from solid growth over the past two decades. But the past four years have proven more challenging. We have witnessed a divergence of economic fortunes—with diversified, well managed economies continuing to grow and many resource-dependent countries encountering difficulties.

While this pattern has continued recently, we are seeing regional growth regain some momentum. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that growth in sub-Saharan Africa should accelerate this year to 3.5 percent from 3 percent in 2018. We expect it to expand at close to 4 percent over the medium term. This is good news.

We are very pleased to see that the Gambian economy has rebounded strongly. Growth in 2018 reached 6.6 percent and prospects for sustained growth are positive over the medium term. Inflation has dropped to just above 6 percent, and gross official reserves have increased to about 3 months of imports. This remarkable progress has been achieved through your government’s efforts to stabilize the economy with support from Gambians living abroad, the private sector, and international partners.

There also has been progress in developing infrastructure, which is crucial to ensuring sustained growth. The recently opened Senegambia Bridge, which I am going to visit later today, is a prime example of this progress. It is a symbol of The Gambia’s efforts to deepen economic ties to the rest of the region.

The bridge is also a good segue to the theme of my speech: The Gambia’s pathway to prosperity. As a road, it is a pathway in the literal sense. But it is also a pathway in figurative sense, symbolizing the role of enhanced trade and connectivity in building prosperity. At the same time, domestic policy efforts will be needed to build this pathway.

Enhanced trade is one pillar of the pathway to prosperity. Africa is now moving ahead with creating the Continental Free Trade Area, which The Gambia recently endorsed. This initiative has the potential to boost intra-African trade and growth across many dimensions. It can add jobs, foster competition, help increase investment, and spur the spread of knowledge and technology.[1] All of which could provide significant benefits to The Gambia.

The agreement itself, however, is but one step. To fully benefit from it, the significant nontariff bottlenecks to trade that exist across the region will also need to be tackled. These include infrastructure shortcomings, logistical costs, and other hurdles that hinder cross-border trade.

If these issues are addressed, regional trade integration can help maximize the returns on important public investment, such as the Senegambia bridge, and consolidate the recent pick-up in private sector activity and lending that is integral to sustainable development in The Gambia. On this point, it is important to note that this private sector-led growth needs to be supported through responsible lending by financial institutions to Gambian businesses large and small. Vigilant supervision of banks and other credit institutions will help to ensure financial stability in the face of growing private capital inflows.

Trade integration will also help frame the reforms of this country’s state-owned enterprises. In many cases, the long-term viability of those companies will depend on increasing their regional orientation.

Take the example of the energy sector. The stabilization of electricity output has contributed to your country’s stronger growth. So, the ongoing investment in the electricity transmission not only will link the Eastern and Northern parts of the country, it will also open doors to West Africa’s power networks by enabling cross-border energy trading, including under the flagship OMVG project uniting The Gambia, Guinea Conakry, Senegal, and Guinea Bissau with the aim of harnessing the water resources of The Gambia River Basin to produce low-cost renewable energy for the member countries.

In the same vein, investment to upgrade the port of Banjul could create a new trans-shipment hub for the region. Seen in this context, the Senegambia Bridge could be just one step in the development of the Trans-Gambia corridor within Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Regional integration and cooperation are particularly important for improving the structure of the economy and enhancing competitiveness. Let me offer two examples:

First, agriculture could be an important contributor to The Gambia’s pathway to prosperity. Regional trade integration and improved infrastructure will be key to growing this important sector of the economy.

On Sunday, I visited Radville Farms, outside Banjul and their processing plant and transit facility near Yundum airport. It was great to see how automation and advanced irrigation techniques are helping to produce high-value and high-yielding crops, boosting exports, and providing high-value employment for many skilled workers, especially women.

In the future, weather tracking, satellite imaging and other sophisticated technological solutions (including artificial intelligence) will be needed to modernize agriculture. They will help to create a farming sector that is more environmentally attuned and resilient to climatic shocks. This is especially important for small and fragile ecosystems like The Gambia’s. Agriculture will then be better able to meet national goals of food self-sufficiency and creation of new export markets.

Second, tourism and other services also remain essential to your future. Regarding tourism, it is great to see The Gambiaattracting record numbers of visitors. New hotels, roads, and other amenities will attract more tourists and will help rebrand your country’s tourism offerings, including by branching out into eco-tourism and water sports. The ongoing expansion of transport infrastructure will facilitate tourism, including better connections to the region. These connections, importantly, will also allow goods to move around the region and help develop trade-related services, including re-exports.

Regional economic integration and cooperation will also strengthen The Gambia’s external position. Exports, private capital inflows, and remittances from Gambians working abroad are rebounding and are likely to increase further with regional integration. This will help build foreign exchange reserves and strengthen confidence in the Dalasi.

So, there are grounds for optimism about the economic outlook. The gains we are witnessing will support your efforts to improve the quality of life for all Gambians. We are already seeing progress in the reduction of maternal and infant mortality rates, and so much more is envisaged under the National Development Plan.

This highlights that, beyond regional integration, there are other important areas of reform to move The Gambia along the pathway to prosperity, which are also key for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. I would like to highlight three areas:

First, unlocking financial support from donors is one critical challenge. This can be addressed by resolving The Gambia’sunsustainable public debt situation. In this regard, I am pleased to report that at a recent roundtable meeting in Washington, D.C., most creditors indicated support for debt relief. Your government and its advisors are following up on this development.

Second, fostering inclusive growth and addressing social needs is another priority. This means attacking poverty through programs aimed at aiding vulnerable households and creating jobs for unemployed youth. By lowering debt service costs, debt relief can also create budget room to address these needs as well as other budget priorities, including the reform of state-owned enterprises.

Third, strengthening the rule of law and increasing accountability and transparency will also be crucial steps toward sustainable growth. The Janneh Commission revealed the extent of financial mismanagement and misappropriation during the previous regime. More focused efforts will be needed to recover stolen domestic and foreign assets.

The IMF joins the rest of the international community in applauding the governments’ commitment to transitional justice reform through the work of the Commission of Enquiry and the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, and the recently established National Human Rights Commission. We also note the plans to establish an Anti-Corruption Commission.

We also join the international community in support of the security sector reforms, which are essential for modernizing the state and strengthening the rule of law.

To conclude, I would like to discuss the role of the IMF.

The Fund provided emergency support in 2017 and is continuing our engagement through a Staff-Monitored Program. In the future we may be able to move to a medium-term program with concessional financing.

In addition, along with international partners and supporting countries, the IMF is strongly committed to helping The Gambia strengthen key institutions, including by providing our technical expertise and training.

It is essential that the assistance of the international community, including the IMF, is closely linked to your country’s development priorities. Please be assured that we stand ready to listen to your ideas and proposals—and to provide all the help we can.

We look forward to working with you as you proceed along your pathway to prosperity.

Thank you for your time and attention. I am happy now, together with IMF colleagues, to answer any questions you may have.

SOURCE International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Hello!


Thank you for visiting my profile and thank you for reading my news and published press release!


There a many things that shape a man, but the carving is done by the hobbies and passions. I've pursued two main careers, professional photography and webdesign, while also keeping a passion for automobiles, technology and games. At PICANTE NEWS, I take care of news editing and press release publishing in se
veral categories and as I've mentioned, during my spare time, I am also a professional photographer with webdesign skills.

My future plans include developing more journalistic skills and start creating investigative journalism. You can find my reports and press release coverages in the following categories:


BANKING/FINANCIAL SERVICES, COMPUTER ELECTRONICS, AUTOMOTIVE, CONTRACTS, ANALYSIS, INTERNET TECHNOLOGY, BIOTECHNOLOGY, BLOCKCHAIN, ACQUISITIONS, RETAIL, and many more.



You can get in touch to discuss interviews or possible article submissions by contacting us.


Let's also connect via social media! You can find me on Facebook or visit my photo portfolio.

Advertisement
Comments

Artificial Intelligence

MPOWER Financing rated Top international student lender by Nerdwallet and U.S. News

Vlad Poptamas

Published

on

Photo source: youtube.com / Sol Bee Jung
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

MPOWER Financing, a mission-driven fintech that provides financial access to higher education for high-promise international and DACA students, was recognized by both Nerdwallet and U.S. News & World Report as the top student loan provider for international students.

Nerdwallet, a comparison website for personal finance products, awarded MPOWER a 5-star rating for its student loans, indicating that its products are “among the very best for consumer-friendly features.” Nerdwallet also commended MPOWER for offering loans that are “ideal for international and DACA students without a co-signer or U.S. credit history.” MPOWER’s loans are available to students from around the world for both graduate and undergraduate degrees at more than 350 top universities in the U.S.and Canada.

U.S. News & World Report recognized MPOWER Financing as the “best lender for international students.” This determination was made on the basis of MPOWER’s product offerings, cost, customer servicing ratings, eligibility, and other features. U.S. News also detailed that MPOWER’s underwriting process considers a student’s academic success and career path – a process that is enabled by MPOWER’s use of big data analytics and artificial intelligence.

“I was having a tough time obtaining education loans from India without collateral,” wrote Kaushik Krishnan, one of MPOWER’s early students. “MPOWER was truly life changing for me. I’ve since graduated from my Masters program, found a job, and paid off my loan.”

“MPOWER allowed me to achieve my dream,” said Sol Bee, a South Korean student. “I was admitted to Berkeley in Fall 2016, but I couldn’t afford it at the time. MPOWER empowered me to be who I wanted to be by allowing me to take control of my finances and my life.”

“We’re honored by the industry recognition we’ve received, and the hundreds of heartfelt stories we get from students whom we have the privilege to serve,” says Manu Smadja, Co-founder and CEO of MPOWER. “We’re working hard to further improve our customer experience and to remain the best international student lending product on the market.”

MPOWER Financing, headquartered in Washington, D.C., and with offices in Bengaluru, New York City, and Toronto, is a mission-driven fintech company and provider of global educational loans. It is the only student lender in the world that leverages both overseas and domestic credit data, as well as future earning potential, to serve high-promise international and DACA students. MPOWER Financing works with over 350 top universities and colleges across the U.S. and Canada to provide financing to students from over 200 countries. Since 2014, it has received over $1B in loan application volume on its platform. MPOWER Financing helps students build their credit histories and provides them with personal finance education and career support to help prepare for life after school. The team is backed by Zephyr Management, Goal Structured Solutions, Gray Matters Capital, Lloyd Crescendo Advisors, 1776, Village Capital, Potentia, Breega, VARIV, DreamIt, Fresco, Chilango, Common Sense Fund, K Street, and University Ventures.

 

SOURCE MPOWER Financing

Continue Reading

Artificial Intelligence

New Research Reveals SafelyYou’s AI-Enabled Fall Detection Reduces Need for Emergency Service Care in Dementia Care Facilities

Vlad Poptamas

Published

on

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Real-time fall detection using SafelyYou’s artificial intelligence-enabled video recording reduced the need for emergency services by a staggering 80% in dementia care facilities, according to research results published in the American Journal of Managed Care. The study closely examined the impact of SafelyYou’s memory care-focused technology to detect falls, videotape falls and notify care staff so that video review of the incident could occur immediately after each fall.

“According to the Alzheimer’s Association Report (2016), fall injury is the leading cause of Alzheimer dementia–related hospitalizations, with $5.3 billion in annual cost to Medicare,” said Glen Xiong, Advisory Board Member for SafelyYou. “In residential care facilities, individuals with dementia fall, on average, four times per year and twice as often as other residents. Falls often go unwitnessed. Due to uncertainty regarding the seriousness of each fall, facility staff frequently activate local emergency medical teams to examine the residents, and such visits often result in emergency department visits.”

The study, supported in part by a National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Aging Small Business Innovation Research Grant, was conducted with enrolled participants on June 1 to Aug. 31, 2018. Fall incidents and outcomes were routinely recorded for facility residents, and facility staff reviewed the falls in real time, immediately after each incident, for study participants.

Among 147 falls in the control group, 52 (35.4%) resulted in EMT visits and 36 (24.5%) resulted in ED visits. In contrast, the intervention group had 83 falls, with 13 (15.7%) and seven (8.3%) resulting in EMT and ED visits, respectively. There were relative reductions of 75% in EMT visits and 80% in ED visits.

The AI-enabled camera fall detection system coupled with staff review of fall videos led to more accurate identification of serious falls and incidents compared with less serious falls, such as when a resident intentionally moved to the ground but did not fall.

“Using emergency services less frequently leads to lowered healthcare costs and stress for everyone,” said George Netscher, CEO of SafelyYou. “Speaking with families and hearing the testimonials is really the very best part of our day.”

For more information on the pilot study results, visit: American Journal of Managed Care. To learn more about reducing falls and ED visits for residents in memory care, contact info@safely-you.com.

 

SOURCE SafelyYou

Continue Reading

Artificial Intelligence

360Quadrants Recognizes IBM, Microsoft and Salesforce as Visionary Leaders in the AI in Fintech Space

Vlad Poptamas

Published

on

Photo source: aithority.com
Reading Time: 2 minutes

AI in Fintech solutions are used by enterprises to perform finance-related tasks that traditionally require human intelligence. These solutions leverage AI-equipped technology to allow the financial sector to design better investment strategies, swiftly detect anomalies, recognize patterns in data, implement voice recognition, and engage in thorough market analysis. Simply put, the AI in Fintech market hosts vendors that provide AI-enabled Fintech solutions.

360Quadrants the most granular comparison platform has released a quadrant on AI in Fintech Solutions to help businesses make quicker and more informed decisions. The quadrant has IBMMicrosoft and Salesforce sharing space as Visionary Leaders. 360Quadrants are generated post analysis of companies (product portfolios and business strategy). Quadrants will be updated every three months based on market and regional analysis and developments in AI in Fintech.

AI in Fintech Solutions Quadrant Highlights

360Quadrants covers 79 companies in the AI in Fintech Solutions space and places the top 44 of them in a quadrant depending on their quality, reliability, and business outcome. These 44 companies are categorized into Visionary Leaders, Dynamic Differentiators, Emerging Companies, and Innovators.

360Quadrants recognizes Intel Movidius Neural Compute Stick, Amazon AWS Alexa, Salesforce Einstein, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Cortana Intelligence Suite, and IBM Watson Platform as Visionary Leaders; IPSoft Amelia, ComplyAdvantage, Nuance Virtual Assistance, Inbenta InbentaBot, Digital Reasoning Conduct Surveillance as Innovators; Samsung and Microstrategy HyperIntelligence as Dynamic Differentiators; and DataRobot, Razorthink Big Brain, Numenta HTM for Stocks suite, Anodot AI Analytics, Brighterion Smart Agents, Kasisto Kai BankingNext IT AlmeZestFinance ZAML, Ayasdi Enterprise AI, Voyager Analytics, AlphaSense and Wallet. AI as Emerging Companies. The 360Quadrants platform provides the most granular AI in Fintech Solutions comparisons between vendors.

Additionally, 360Quadrants has dived deep into research and released a niche region-specific quadrant. This quadrant recognizes the top player in the market in specific regions. The regional quadrant covers North AmericaEuropeAsia PacificMEA, and Latin America. Intensive research was conducted to place companies in regional quadrants based on their developments, presence—both online and physical—and support/reach in specific regions. IBM Watson, Salesforce, and Microsoft are recognized as Visionary Leaders across regions. In the North America and Asia Pacific regions, Intel Movidius Neural Compute Stick is recognized as a Visionary Leader by 360Quadrants. Finally, for Latin America and MEA, 360Quadrants recognizes AWS as a Visionary Leader.

Methodology

The methodology used to rank AI in Fintech Solutions companies involved the use of extensive secondary research to identify key vendors by referring to annual reports, press releases, investor presentations, white papers, and various related directories and databases. 44 key vendors were shortlisted based on their breadth of product offerings, organization size, and other criteria. The scores and weights for shortlisted vendors against each parameter were finalized post research.  After the finalization of ratings, each vendor was placed in the most relevant quadrant based on their score in the product offering and business strategy parameters.

 

SOURCE 360Quadrants

Continue Reading

Font Resizer

Subscribe to PICANTE via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to PICANTE and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow us on Facebook

Read more from our authors

Follow our Tweets

Trending

Please turn AdBlock off