It's fair to say that we've moved from a broadcast work (think television and radio) to a narrowcast world (think email, Youtube and podcasts) and the precision deployment of technology in agriculture is a good example of this. Our recent Retail Banking Council Africa in Lagos brought together several partners working up and down the financing of the agricultural supply chain, with the head of agricultural financing of one of our member banks leading a panel that included the business DroneBeat and the Nigerian partner of Harvesting, the satellite data business. The FT agrees with us that the meeting of precision technology with the fairly old technology of farming could open up opportunities for millions of people in the global south: "[Technology] has caught on more slowly in the developing world, where four-fifths of food is produced by smallholders, because of a shortage of capital as well as lower rates of literacy and mobile telephony use. Yet a cohort of indigenous African companies, as well as multinationals such as the Climate Corporation and institutions such as the World Bank, are exploring ways to adapt and broaden smart farming technologies to bring the precision agriculture revolution to the continent." What we've observed at Lafferty Group is that this deployment of data will feed into better financing of agriculture, but is already meeting blockchain technology and the world of mobile-based digital assets. Don't take your eyes off this space!
Most banks have long decided their Brexit strategies, wisely deciding not to wait until negotiations between the EU and the UK start (and then only once a transition agreement is announced) — as it's only then that the issues regarding finance can be worked out. The feared exodus of bankers out of Britain has not yet happened, but the screw is beginning to turn on banking business itself resulting in a drop in cross-border lending out of London. Bloomberg reports that "as the U.K nears the Brexit deadline with no plan for an amicable breakup, some money has started to move. The BIS estimates that in the three months through June, cross-border lending from the U.K. declined by $129 billion (adjusted for currency fluctuations) -- the largest drop in three years." And who benefited? Paris saw a $93 billion boost in its lending, with the Netherlands booking a modest increase also. Is this a solid indicator of future trends?
Veteran actors know to avoid working with children and animals. Now add robots to the list. In conference news, it's the return, albeit much diminished because of the Khashoggi killing, of Saudi Arabia's Future Investment Initiative aka 'Davos in the Desert' . Last year's event gave us the infamous interview with Sylvia the robot, who was granted Saudi citizenship, before frightening everyone in attendance with its fearsome grin. But never fear! The USA can do better. It's Money20/20 week in the USA as well, and straight out of the gate comes a Money20/20 interview with Pepper the robot and its handler, HSBC's head of innovation Jeremy Balkin, who discovers why actors prefer not to being upstaged by little people. For maximum amusement, skip forward to around the 1:40 mark as the baffled robot tries to figure out who is talking to it and then smacks its forehead into the reporter's microphone. But, you know, why not let this machine run your bank?
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