Uganda: Experts look at financial literacy in Uganda

Many people are likely to recover from financial illness, experts said, as more and more insurance companies and commercial banks continuously impart essential financial knowledge on saving and investing in very lucrative businesses.

Samuel Matekha, communications manager at the Diamond Trust Bank, says many Ugandans are suffering financially because they are not using the resources around them that can bring them extra income.

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“Think about it. A girl makes 100,000shs and spends it on clothes and shoes, having no plan to invest that money and turn it into better value. What if you had an insurance policy? you to open a digital savings account in a bank,” Matekha wonders.

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According to John Walugembe, executive director of the Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises, the ultimate goal is to develop themselves and see Ugandans make informed decisions about investing in businesses they fully understand.

Jacqueline Kalembe, communications manager for UAP Old Mutual Life Assurance Uganda, says the fact that almost 80% of NSSF savings recipients waste their money in their first year of receiving indicates low levels of literacy finance in Uganda.

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A recent report on financial capability by the Bank of Uganda revealed that only 25% of Ugandans save for investment and it also shows that a quarter of adults save, but only for consumption.

Kalembe observes the need to educate the masses on financial concepts that will enable them to prepare, save and invest in lucrative ventures, among other aspects of financial literacy.

Jane Amuge Okello, director of operations at the Uhuru Institute for Social Development, notes that opportunities are obtained by innovation-ready humans who have embraced practical knowledge.

“There are a variety of things that one can invest in, such as agribusiness, insurance products, small businesses, among others. Let’s work and reduce income generation and the transit to wealth creation,” says Amuge .

Samuel Matekha of Diamond Trust Bank advises Ugandans to position themselves on timely platforms having qualified entrepreneurs and investors who can help build and execute innovative ideas. It encourages time planning accordingly.

“Don’t wait for work to pay you, build your finances and with a positive mindset, invest them once you earn,” he says.

Walugembe concludes that fundamentally people should understand that they must have an income to save.

“Increase income and minimize expenses, save and invest. The challenge is that Ugandans want to invest in immediate physical assets. Be patient and earn in abundance.”

Agume from the Uhuru Institute for Social Development further urges stakeholders in the financial space to work together and present the message of insurance and financial education in plain language, as economic language makes people think low-income that these packages are aimed at high-end workers.

“People have shunned insurance and banking because they think it’s for high-end workers.”