The year 2020 will go down in history as a very extraordinary year in the 21st century, as COVID-19 is causing havoc around the world. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, most economies are expected to slowdown and other even expected to go into an economic recession. These extraordinary times has forced many Small and Medium (SMEs) size Companies to either temporarily or permanently close down.
In anticipation of a chaotic aftermath, most governments are looking at stimulus packages for these business. The Government of Ghana for instance has setup a COVID-19 fund and has since been receiving donations from private organizations and individuals for such purposes. Even though the unknown is great, one thing most experts seem to agree on is that these interventions will not be enough if COVID-19 and its accompanying lock-down drags on until the end of the year. This calls for innovative ideas.
One of such is the Mini-Loans Scheme system proposed by Ghampo Consultation Ghana (GCG). The idea is to bring borrowers (SMEs) and Lenders (rich individuals, venture lenders, Micro finance institutions, etc) together at the end of the lock down, using information technology. Unlike traditional loans, the money in a Mini-Loan can come from multiple lenders. Typically, the loans will be used to finance operations of the borrower’s company, so that there is a realistic chance for repayment. The following information form the basis for creating their system:
§ Each borrower and lender must be registered with information about name and address.
§ A loan starts with a loan request, which contains information about when the loan should at latest be granted, The total amount being discussed (in Ghana Cedis), and duration of repayment. Also, a description is included of how the money will be used. The interest on the Mini-Loan is calculated on the loan amount.
§ Lenders can commit to an optional portion of the total amount of a loan request. Meaning a lender can commit to grant 10%, 25%, or even 100% of the mini-Loan amount.
§ When the commitments for the loan request covers the requested amount, the request is converted to a mini-Loan. If not enough commitments can be reached, the loan request is cancelled.
§ A borrower can have more than one mini-Loan request, and more than one mini-Loan at a time, but can at most make one request per day.
§ The mini-Loan will be paid through an “intermediary”, typically a local department of a charity, who has a name and an address.
§ The borrower chooses when he or she will make a payment. Every payment must be registered in the database with an amount and a date (at most one payment per loan per day). The lenders share the repayment based on the proportion of contribution to the loan. If a lender committed to 60% of the load, then he/she will get 60% of each repayment amount.
§ If the mini-Loan is not repaid before the agreed upon deadline, a new date will be agreed. The database must not delete the old deadline, but save the history (the deadline can be overridden multiple times).
§ Each lender can for each burrower save a “Rating / Trust”, which is a number between 0 and 100 that determines the lender’s evaluation of the risk of lending money to that person.
§ A lender must only be able to rate a borrow he/she has previously lend money to.
(i) Using an appropriate CASE tool (e.g. Erwin data modeler or Microsoft Visio) create an Entity Relationship Diagram for GCG specifying the key attributes of each entity type, and the structural constraints on each relationship type. (You may note any unspecified requirements from the scenario, and make appropriate assumptions to make the specification complete)
(ii) Discuss the integrity rules in your data model and demonstrate how these were applied in your ERD.
(iii) Even though the initial plan is for GCG to start in Ghana, plans are underway to establish branches across the West African sub region. In line with the above GCG has plans to create a single database system for all branches across the sub region. To achieve this, GCG will look at the possibility of creating a distributed database (DDB), since it will further improve the overall performance of the system. For the purpose of this DDB, GCG will have computer sites located at each of each of the capital cities in West Africa. At each of these sites, we expect frequent access to the Lenders, borrowers, and mini-Loans information within that region. The Site at the head office in Accra will house a copy of the complete database and accesses all information. Using a modeling technique of your choice, create a model of fragments to be replicated at each site. You may introduce additional relations, if necessary.
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