The National Empowerment Fund (NEF) investor education campaign takes to the Southern Cape this week with a series of seminars starting in Mossel Bay on Monday, before heading to Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and George over the next three days.
The investor education campaign, delivered for free in local languages, is aimed at teaching individuals about the basics and importance of how to save and invest. It also targets stokvels and other savings and investment clubs. Attendants will receive a free 44-page comprehensice booklet expalining savings and investments.
The seminars also teach small business owners, both aspiring and active, about the NEF’s own funding requirements as well as business planning, mentorship and support.
The NEF is an agency of the Department of Trade and Industry, which began operations in 2004 with a mandate of fostering entrepreneurship, facilitating empowerment and helping entrench the culture of savings and investments among black South Africans. The seminars are open to all residents and business owners in the area where they are hosted.
“The bulk of the NEF’s work is focused on helping to establish and sustain black-owned businesses, but the investor education seminars allows us to connect with individuals, whose savings and investment can be an important source of growth and job creation in the country” says Mziwabantu Dayimani, general counsel and the manager responsible for investor education at the NEF.
Dayimani notes that savings and investment benefits both the individual and the economy, over the short term and long term. For the individual, saving allows them to improve the quality of life and reach their financial goals while saving for a comfortable retirement while for the country, savings and investments create a pool of funds that can be used for productive investments and reduce dependency on foreign capital flows which can be volatile.
According to figures from the South African Reserve Bank and the Financial Services Board (FSB) South Africa has a savings rate of about 15,4% of GDP. This places South Africa among the lowest saving countries when compared to middle-income emerging market peers such as India, which saves about 30% of its GDP, and Brazil which saves 25%.
“The recommended savings rate for a country is about 25% of GDP and this is a goal all South Africans can contribute towards as individuals and as a collective. This is one of the objectives the NEF would like to help achieve,” says Dayimani.
According to the Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor only a quarter of South Africans between the ages of 18 and 30 years of age are saving for retirement while about 31% save for emergencies. The Savings Institute of South Africa attributes the low savings rate to a range of factors, including low disposable income and low employment growth as well as a heavy tax burden, yet each of these can and should be overcome by inculcating a need to make lifestyle adjustments and improve savings.
The seminars teach about the basic instruments available for saving and investments including savings accounts, unit trusts, shares, bonds and property as well the basics steps to follow before choosing one or more types of savings vehicle. They also warn of pitfalls to avoid when developing a savings plan, such as the importance of dealing with reputable institutions and purchasing reputable.
“The seminars also teach about the importance of small businesses to the economy” says Dayimani, noting that small businesses are a backbone and essential feature of many of the towns in which the seminars are held, which tend to be outside major urban centres. Small businesses are a critical sources of growth and employment.
The seminars teach about the basic principles for succeeding in business as well as the NEFs funding products and criteria, how to prepare a business plan and the mentorship and support services that are available, from the NEF and other institutions, such as business incubators.
Now in its fifth year, the investor education series has, since April this year, been to Kwa Zulu Natal, North West, Mpumalanga, Free State, and now the Western Cape before heading to Gauteng in December
|The NEF investor education series takes place between 3.30 pm and 6.30 pm at the following dates and venues:|
|Monday, 16 November 2015
Kwa Nonqoba Wellness Centre
|Tuesday, 17 November 2015
Hornley Community Hall
|Wednesday, 18 November 2015
Piesang Valley Community Centre
|Thursday, 19 November 2015
George Banquet Hall