Kenya's consumers increasingly confident
The Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for Q3 has been released and shows a varied view for Sub-Saharan Africa, but Kenyan consumers are feeling particularly optimistic in comparison to the previous quarter as reflected by a five point increase in the country’s CCI to 117, compared to 112 in Q2 2015.
Nielsen’s consumer confidence index measures perceptions of local job prospects, personal finances and immediate spending intentions among more than 30,000 respondents with Internet access in 61 countries. Consumer confidence levels of above or below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees or optimism and pessimism, respectively.
Nielsen East Africa MD Jacqueline Nyanjom noted that Kenya’s buoyant results come as no surprise, she said: “The timing of U.S. President Obama’s visit to Kenya in July this year left people feeling very positive about the future and coincided with the CCI’s quarter three survey period. Business sentiment as measured in Nielsen’s first Africa Prospects indicator (APi) also shows Kenya as the top country for business growth.”
We interviewed Nielsen's West Africa MD, Lampe Omoyele after the company conducted the world's largest store poll in Nigeria - read it here.
Contributing to the Kenya-specific CCI results, the outlook for employment increased in Kenya, rising four percentage points from the second quarter, with 60 percent of respondents saying they viewed their job prospects as Excellent or Good in the next 12-months. Likewise, sentiment for personal finances and immediate spending intentions also increased with 69 percent believing the state of their personal finances were good or excellent, up three percentage points from the previous quarter.
Perhaps the most positive increase was reflected in respondents’ outlook on spending intentions, with 45 percent of the opinion that it’s currently an excellent/good time to buy; this is the highest figure since Q3’ 2014, and a whole nine points ahead of the results at that time.
On a less positive note, the majority of respondents (63 percent) said they did not have spare cash, a decrease from the second quarter. Among those who did claim discretionary funds, saving continued to be a priority, with 87 percent planning to put money into savings. Discretionary spending intentions for home improvement projects were the second-biggest priority at 81 percent, while 73 percent said they would invest in shares of stocks/mutual funds.
See - Nielsen Kenya
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”