CTO, The Gold Continent
The Gold Continent uses MySQL Database Service as a backbone for a platform that aims to formalize property and business assets for millions of Zambians.
Business Challenges & Goals
In Zambia, a country with a population of 17 million people, an estimated 90% of properties and 70% of businesses operate in the informal economy. Over 3.5 million houses and 1 million businesses are unregistered. Consequently, these properties and businesses are not recognized as valuable assets.
These property and business owners have no title deeds or business records, making it difficult for them to obtain financing, buy and sell, or transact with other people, institutions, or government agencies. People choose not to transition from the informal to formal economy because not enough value is being created from their assets to justify the costs associated with formalizing them. However, there are many transactions that can be done with businesses that would create more value from the informal assets today. Some of the major hurdles to such transactions are: time-consuming and inefficient collection of information about the assets; delayed access to the most up-to-date information; difficulty in verifying the accuracy of the information; records get lost, stolen or misplaced; replication of these processes from institution to institution. All of these problems, which are common throughout Africa, lead to lost opportunities.
The Gold Continent, a Toronto-based startup that was founded by two members of the Zambian diaspora, wants to transform the perception of Africa to that of a continent full of opportunity for everyone to grow and prosper. Their mission is to help Africa transition from the informal to the formal economy by creating more value from people's assets that will justify them making the transition. As a first step, it has launched the Gold Data Platform™, a cloud application, allowing people in Zambia to create records of their assets. These records can be used immediately to do more transactions with businesses, which otherwise would be more difficult.
Business Results & Metrics
Built with MySQL Database Service, the platform initially serves to capture, clean, organize, and store raw data entered by Zambian property and business owners, whether they are informal or formal. Individuals will enter their name, address, property or business description, information on co-owners and GPS coordinates captured by their smartphones or computers, and upload the information to the Oracle Cloud.
The Gold Data Platform™ is a subscription service with a transaction cost per record for creation and maintenance. Zambians can use smartphones or computers to create their accounts, enter their asset information and pay their subscription fees by mobile money transfer using mobile payment systems.
Property and business records are the essential backbone of the Gold Data Platform™ and are the basis for creating more value from people's assets. For data providers, there will be real value as soon as owners can engage in transactions with businesses and the government, using their asset records. In order to encourage people to use their asset records for transacting more business immediately, The Gold Continent has embarked on a nationwide awareness campaign to get property and business owners, companies, and government agencies to seamlessly collaborate through the platform.
When MySQL Database Service is populated with a critical mass of records and is used daily through the Oracle Cloud, new categories of data will be included, and value creation will grow organically.
The Gold Continent plans to leverage HeatWave, the integrated high-performance analytics engine of MySQL Database Service, to provide users with real-time analysis of live sets of data. Farmers, for example, will be able to compare crop yields and types of fertilizers being used or soil composition. Fertilizer suppliers will gain insight into what is working, where it is working, and adapt their commercial strategies accordingly. Banks will have even better information to assess loan applications.
"It's what big data is all about," says Dil Vashi, CEO, The Gold Continent. "MySQL Database Service with HeatWave will help us provide more value, attract more users from all sectors, and pave the way for the creation of new revenue streams from transactions made on the platform."
The company is also considering the use of satellite imagery to build an address system that confirms the GPS coordinates entered by users to register their locations, promoting the transition of the informal Zambian economy into a vibrant formal one.
Once the platform is successful in Zambia - which represents 1.5% of the African market - The Gold Continent will take advantage of Oracle Cloud's scalability to expand into the Southern African Development Community, whose 16 member countries have a population of 345 million people. The company's long-term strategy aims at tapping total market revenue potential estimated at US$3 billion from Africa's 1.3 billion population. This is just from the initial platform service of property and business asset records, of which there are an estimated 250 million informal properties and another 250 million informal businesses operating on the continent. The company sees a revenue potential of several times more as the platform expands into analytics and other services.
As a startup, with no legacy technology, The Gold Continent was looking for an agile, highly secure, and cost-effective platform with the ability to scale massively. It chose MySQL Database Service after evaluating other cloud platforms and concluded that for security, availability, and scalability the Oracle Gen 2 Cloud Infrastructure had no equal on the market.
MySQL Database Service enables information to be easily uploaded, records to be retrieved easily, fast, and at low cost, downtime to be cut, and transaction costs minimized, and it allows the Zambian public to create more value from their assets immediately. The Gold Data Platform™ runs on a compute instance in Oracle's Toronto datacenter.
"With Oracle Cloud, we don't have to reinvent the wheel. We have no need to purchase servers or anything else. As we expand, the costs of collecting and storing data will increase over time. And that's where we hope to build a profitable high-revenue business with Oracle," said Dil Vashi.