Leana de Beer, CEO of WaFunda, an enterprise focusing on financial literacy and access to education, says South Africans should invest in financial literacy. She cites figures from the South African Reserve Bank which show that South Africans are spending over 75% of their take-home pay on debt.
“Car and home repayments already take up more than half of many people’s income. South Africans commonly have credit cards, and several retail accounts,” said De Beer.
According to the consumer insight firm Experian, 23.3 million consumers in SA have a total of nearly R2 trillion in formal debt accrued through credit cards, various loans or retail accounts.
De Beer says many young South Africans are “drowning” in debt. “As many South Africans are not making ends meet, the prevalence of illicit loans from illegal micro financers, or amashonisa, is concerningly high. Local loan sharks are notorious for their exorbitant interest rates, and brutally coercive extortion for repayments,” she said.
De Beer says that financial literacy should be a cornerstone of education at all levels. “One of our key strategies is to embed financial education into the bursary funding environment, targeting the young people who will drive the economy of tomorrow, and ensuring that tertiary education equips our young leaders with the knowledge to make wise financial choices.”
WaFunda partnered with Blackbullion in the UK and Blackbullion South Africa is the result of the partnership and is a product of WaFunda. “Blackbullion South Africa takes the form of multimedia content streams, convenient lessons, quizzes, videos and articles, all structured into modules across personalised learning pathways.
“The content covers the fundamentals of financial literacy, such as budgeting, saving, debt and investing, and we have also developed modules that speak to the unique situation of students and youth in South Africa,” said De Beer.