Investing a priority for Africa’s youth - CNBC Africa

Investing a priority for Africa’s youth

Special Report

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Investment, education and savings are seen as the main drivers of prosperity. PHOTOS: Michael Surguladze/Buzz South Africa

“The Barclays Africa Prosper Report shows that people work hard for their money and want their money to work hard for them,” said Barclays Africa group executive of marketing, communications, citizenship and public affairs, Bobby Malabie.

“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.”

(READ MORE: Young people should invest like Buffett)

The report, which is based on a survey, was conducted online with 7,000 respondents from South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Kenya, Ghana, Mozambique, Seychelles, Mauritius, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. 

Around 78 per cent of the respondents were between 18 and 35 years of age, which represents a significant portion of the ‘youth bulge’.

According to Barclays, the report showed that while Africa is experiencing exponential economic growth, Africans equate prosperity to achieving financial freedom.

This would include having enough personal wealth to live without having to actively work to pay for basic necessities.

“Investment, education and savings are seen by Africans as the main drivers of prosperity to open the doors to economic growth,” Malabie said.

“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.”

The report further stated that if given 100 US dollars to help them prosper, 49 per cent of respondents would invest it, with computers and books topping the list in terms of items that would be purchased to help them prosper.

Professor Monde Makiwane of the Human Sciences Research Council believes that it is Africa’s young emerging middle class that hold the key to accelerated economic growth and transformation in Africa.

(WATCH VIDEO: The emergence of the middle class as a driver of Africa’s economic growth)

“It [the 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,” he said.

“Encouragingly, one of the most significant findings from this African survey is the high level of savings and investments reported by participants.  Almost 50 per cent of respondents would save or invest to help them prosper financially, a powerful statistic if viewed in the context of the Asian savings boom.”

The Asian continent supposedly took advantage of this by creating employment opportunities and mobilising the youth to save, which then fuelled wealth creation in the region.