Financial freedom to drive prosperity in Africa

Barclays Africa Prosper Report shows Africans would rather invest than spend money on luxury items to prosper

*  To prosper, 53 percent of African respondents need to achieve financial freedom now and in ten years’ time.
* Almost a third of African respondents would buy a computer or books to help them prosper.
* Africa is experiencing a youth bulge similar to the one experienced in Asia and its savings boom – a trend known to catapult developing economies forward.
* First online bespoke prosper survey conducted across Africa has captured the views of more than 7 000 respondents.
[caption id="attachment_13446" align="alignleft" width="300"]Bobby Malabie (left) Group Executive at Barclays Africa and Professor Monde Makiwane (right) of the Human Sciences Research Council at the launch of the inaugural Barclays Africa Prosper Report on 28 October 2014. Bobby Malabie (left) Group Executive at Barclays Africa and Professor Monde Makiwane (right) of the Human Sciences Research Council at the launch of the inaugural Barclays Africa Prosper Report on 28 October 2014.[/caption] Barclays Africa today launched a report that shows Africans equate prosperity to achieving financial freedom, as Africa continues to experience growth ahead of other developing economies.
Barclays Africa is among the leading banks on the continent with a presence in 14 African countries. The Barclays Africa Prosper Report captures what ‘prosper’ means to Africans in 11 of those countries. The survey, which was conducted online, surveyed over 7 000 respondents from South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Kenya, Ghana, Mozambique, Seychelles, Mauritius, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.Seventy-eight percent of the respondents were between 18 and 35 years of age, representing a significant portion of the ‘youth bulge’ – the future drivers of the African economy. The youth bulge is a common phenomenon in many developing countries where a large share of the population is comprised of children and young adults thanks to a decrease in infant mortality and steady levels of fertility.The Barclays Africa Prosper Report identifies that Africa’s youth, given the right tools, are set to become the drivers of economic prosperity. Africans define what it means to prosper * If given US$100 to help them prosper, 49 percent of respondents would invest it. * Almost a third would buy a computer (30 percent) and books (24 percent) to help them prosper. * While lack of finances is a major barrier to prosperity (66 percent), this is also the easiest aspect of their life to change (37 percent). * Nearly 50 percent of respondents would most likely consult a bank to obtain financial prosperity. Only ten percent said they would consult a family member. According to Bobby Malabie, Group Executive of Marketing, Communications, Citizenship and Public Affairs at Barclays Africa says: “The Barclays Africa Prosper Report shows that people work hard for their money and want their money to work hard for them. What is particularly encouraging is that when questioned further, the youth of Africa would rather invest their money to fund further education than to spend it on flashy consumer goods. “Investment, education and savings are seen by Africans as the main drivers of prosperity to open the doors to economic growth. It is also clear that Africa’s emerging youth presents the continent with an unprecedented opportunity to deepen our human capital, and with the right tools, tomorrow’s decision makers can unlock Africa’s potential.” Providing an independent analysis of the research, Professor Monde Makiwane of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) says: “A decrease in mortality rates coupled with the youth’s connectivity to a global community which is increasingly aided by technology, means we have an emerging youth bulge of Africans that are more optimistic than ever before. Africa’s youth are confident they will be around to live their future. Given this optimism, they prefer to spend their money on computers and books to aid their prosperity, rather than making flashy statements in their local communities by parading the latest must-have item.” “The Barclays Africa Prosper Report addresses critical issues of financial behaviour and prosperity that have either been missed or poorly measured by previous social and financial surveys in Africa. “Encouragingly, one of the most significant findings from this African survey is the high level of savings and investments reported by participants. Almost 50 percent of respondents would save or invest to help them prosper financially, a powerful statistic if viewed in the context of the Asian savings boom,” says Makiwane. Several decades ago, Asia experienced a youth bulge. The continent took advantage of this by creating employment opportunities and mobilising the youth to save. Continued economic growth and a high savings rate have fuelled wealth creation in the region and its propensity to save is exceptional when compared to the United States or Europe. Gross national savings range from a low of 24 percent of GDP in the Philippines to a high of 50 percent in China, compared with 13 percent in the United States and 19 percent on average across Europe(1). Bobby Malabie (left) Group Executive at Barclays Africa and Professor Monde Makiwane (right) of the Human Sciences Research Council at the launch of the inaugural Barclays Africa Prosper Report on 28 October 2014 Bobby Malabie (left) Group Executive at Barclays Africa and Professor Monde Makiwane (right) of the Human Sciences Research Council at the launch of the inaugural Barclays Africa Prosper Report on 28 October 2014 Report Download  here Sociological findings – summary * Africa’s growing middle class is driven by three basic characteristics: – First, they are mostly in the younger working age with basic skills that can be advanced by exposure in different sectors of the economy and society. – Second, their integration into economic and socio-political life in the modern global village is facilitated by advancements and increasing accessibility of the internet and mobile communication technology. – Third, a growing proportion of this group comprise a large and expanding middle class that are known to catalyse the process of economic growth. * Being financially successful is the most common current priority by participants in the survey across different socio-economic categories measured. Three major obstacles to financial prosperity reported by survey participants include a lack of finance (reported by 68.9 percent), a lack of opportunity (50 percent) and lack of financial advice (26.2 percent). It is not surprising that a lack of finance is the main obstacle identified. Considering the possibility that many people in this category are in regular employment, the possibility or options for other major obstacles would be limited. An interesting finding in this regard is how the views of those self-employed (who are a distinct category of entrepreneurship) differ significantly from others. * There is an ongoing debate in social science literature about the level or scale of entrepreneurial spirit among sub-groups of the middle class (such as the youth). This relates to contentions about how the middle class is conceptually defined and empirically categorised. A recent study on the Emerging Middles Class in Developing Countries (OECD Development Paper) noted that a majority of the middle class in African countries are employed in the public sector. If this is a true characterisation, it has implication for their prosperity strategy since many people in employment, especially in the public sector would tend to have less volatile prosperity ambitions in the medium term than others. * As many as 60.6 percent of all respondents would invest or save an extra $100 if they had it; 14.7 percent would use if for education and skills-related expenses and 13.2 percent would use it to pay off debt. * The Barclays Africa Prosper Survey is an online survey that was designed and deployed to an online research access panel as well as targeted social media campaigns in each country. Data collection ran from 14 April 2014 and was concluded on the 8th of August 2014. In total, after data cleaning and quality checks a sample of n=7052 was achieved. Eight of the 11 countries had more than n=500 respondents, with the Seychelles having a sample of n=82, Mozambique n=309 and Tanzania n=416. Where necessary the survey was translated into Portuguese and French. About Barclays Africa Group Barclays Africa Group Limited (Barclays Africa Group or the Group) is 62.3% owned by Barclays Bank PLC (Barclays) and is listed on the JSE Limited. The Group is one of Africa’s major financial services providers offering personal and business banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking, wealth and investment management as well as bancassurance. We combine our global product knowledge with regional expertise and have an extensive, well established local presence. The Group was formed through combining Absa Group Limited and Barclays’ African operations on 31 July 2013. Reflecting the enlarged group’s pan-African focus, our name changed from Absa Group Limited to Barclays Africa Group Limited on 2 August 2013. At 31 December 2013, Barclays Africa Group Limited had 847,8 million shares in issue and a market capitalisation of R112 billion. The Group had assets of R960 billion, 9 997 automated teller machines, 962 staffed outlets and 33 879 permanent employees. Our registered head office is in Johannesburg, South Africa and we have majority stakes in banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania (Barclays Bank Tanzania and National Bank of Commerce), Uganda and Zambia. We also have representative offices in Namibia and Nigeria as well as bancassurance operations in Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia. Barclays Bank Kenya and Barclays Bank Botswana continue to be listed on their respective stock exchanges. Barclays Bank PLC has operations in Egypt and Zimbabwe which are an integral part of our African business and continues to be run by Barclays Africa Group’s management. About Barclays Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in personal banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking and wealth and investment management with an extensive international presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. Barclays’ purpose is to help people achieve their ambitions – in the right way. With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs approximately 140,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.
*Shared by African Media Agency

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