Nigeria is a country with a high Gross Domestic Product (GDP) compared to its colleague in the developing yard Bangladesh. Data revealed that with the high GDP, Nigeria harbors 4-time people living below the poverty line than Bangladesh. The reasons can be attributed to the country’s 56 percent income spend on food (highest in the world) as opposed to its counterpart with less than 40 percent. In Nigeria, approximately 60 percent live below the poverty line. In Bangladesh, however, that number is 24.3 percent indicating 55.3 percent likelihood to live below the poverty line in Nigeria compared to Bangladesh.
Source: Country Economy, 2018
Should appropriate financial knowledge (Literacy) solve this discrepancy considering:
- The current situation of education curriculum containing only 5% of studied courses about personal finance for non-business students and only 10% studied financial courses in business colleges.
- The literacy rate. In Nigeria, the literacy rate is 59.6%. In Bangladesh, it is 72.8% showing a 22.1 percent more likely to be literate in Bangladesh when compared to Nigeria.
- The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the two economies as shown in the figure below;
Source: Country Economy, 2018
Asides the high GDP in Nigeria compared to Bangladesh, above all others metric, Bangladesh is a better economy owning to Nigeria’s low level of Education and epileptic education structure; education which can increase the level of financial literacy is in shambles. It becomes imperative for the government of the country to devise actionable plans to improve its citizen’s financial literacy which will invariably repress consumption, at the same time, encourage saving and investment. This is based on the assumption that negative relationship exists between literacy level and consumption. In other words, the higher the financial literacy, the more informed the citizens financial decisions are, hence a moderate consumption. As such, it will be concluded upon that high level of is associated with low consumption level. More so, in a study conducted by Adriaan K. et al (2016)[i] to examine the impact of financial literacy on household consumption. It was found that financial literacy of man plays a large role and a higher financial literacy score of the women decreases consumption.
What is Financial Literacy
In simple terms, it is a skill that helps people to make financial decisions effectively. It ensures having the required and appropriate knowledge, skills, and confidence to make responsible financial decisions. Research has found a positive relationship between financial literacy and financial decisions. Putting that into context, a high level of financial literacy translates better financial decisions and its low level equate poor financial decisions in which the latter is attributable to the current situation of the giant of Africa.
Contextually, the position of literature on elucidating a better understanding of financial literacy defines “knowledge as an understanding of personal and broader financial matters; skills as the ability to apply that financial knowledge in everyday life; confidence as having the self-assurance to make important decisions and responsible financial decisions as to the ability of individuals to use the knowledge, skills, and confidence they have gained to make choices appropriate to their own circumstances”. It gives the twin benefit of protecting from financial frauds as well as planning for financially secured future.
A poor or low financial literacy is often influenced by family background as found by Lusardi(2008) who claimed that 41 percent of required knowledge for better financial decisions usually comes from parenting and home advice. As such, family wealth accumulation lined in the league of factors affecting individual financial decisions. Others factors attributed to poor financial decisions include Education, household income, financial responsibility, and place of residence. The low level of financial literacy has affected and can be attributed to the slow pace with which Nigerians have adopted financial services in rural and urban areas.
The APEX Bank of Nigeria, Central Bank of Nigeria (The Bank), has released as part of its mandate to improve the level of financial literacy in the country. The bank in a statement stated that:
“An important mandate of the Bank is the promotion of a sound financial system in Nigeria. A key aspect of this function is the entrenchment of effective consumer protection regime that not only protects the rights of consumers but also engenders public confidence in the financial system. Furthermore, the bank added a commitment in 2011 referred to as the MAYA DECLARATION, to reduce the number of financially excluded Nigerians from 46.3 percent in 2010 to 20 percent by the year 2020”.
The current exclusion rate in 2018 was about 36.8 percent according to a recent report by Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EfinA, 2018). To ensure the fulfillment of this obligation.
A National Financial Inclusion Strategy was accordingly developed and launched on October 23, 2012. The strategy identified consumer protection and its constituent pillars of Market Conduct, Dispute Resolution & Consumer Education as critical to the attainment of its objectives.
Understanding the position of the bank, the metric for financial literacy is financial inclusion. It was claimed that 68.2 percent of the population is financially included of which 56 percent of income is spent on consumption. Should a high level of financial literacy not better position saving or investment ahead of consumption?
What is my Position?
The dominance of financial mistakes will not come as a surprise; this is due to the relative inadequate financial knowledge among households. High level of financial literacy is what differentiates the two countries mentioned earlier. As long as a larger portion of income is spent on consumption, the poor will remain poor.
As such, Quality Education in all sectors of the economy becomes imperative which includes
- Review of Education Curriculum to include 30 percent of financial related knowledge.
- Provision of incentives to promote savings and investments through financial institutions.
- Public sensitization and awareness on the need for better financial decisions through instilled financial knowledge which could involve partnership with media houses and agencies.
In all, a conscious effort must be made to scale financial inclusion in the country, through financial literacy. An increased level and quality of education can enhance better financial literacy.
Worth noting in a country with a high level of illiteracy is that financial knowledge will be abysmally low and higher proportion of the income will be spent on consumption
This poor knowledge will lead to low savings and investment and the cycle of poverty ensues. The implication of illiteracy can never be overemphasized on nation’s economy.
[i]Milena Dinkova, AdriaanKalwij, & Rob Alssie (2016), The impact of financial literacy on household consumption
Credit: Taiwo Oyekanmi
Egypt, PRL sign train engines contracts worth $466.3M
CAIRO – 16 November 2019: The Egyptian Railway Authority (ERA) signed with PRL (Progress Rail Automotives) a number of contracts worth $466.3 million after a meeting with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi that took place last week.
The American company will supply 50 train engines over 22 months, carry out long-term maintenance for 41 engines by June 30, and upgrade 50 others within 30 months since the conclusion of the deal. The company will also provide maintenance services and spare parts for those 141 train engines for 15 years. The value of contracts will be secured through soft loans, except for $27 million that will be paid by ERA’s treasury.
In July, ERA endorsed the technical specifications of two passenger railcars to be supplied by Transmashholding in September. Those are part of a contract to supply 1,300 railcars. One of the railcars will be tested in Hungary, so it will be granted the safety certification by the European Railway Agency. The other will be tested in Egypt. Afterwards, the first batch of railcars in the contract will be delivered in accordance with the timeline set by both parties.
The contract states that 650 railcars will be supplied from Hungary, 500 will be delivered by Russia, and 150 will be manufactured by Egypt under the supervision of Transmashholding. An Egyptian locomotive factory will be established as part of a plan to localize the locomotive industry in Egypt and transfer the know-how to workers, technicians, and engineers in the sector. The factory will produce the 150 railcars and also provide maintenance services.
The representatives of ERA and Transmashholding agreed to hold further visits and meetings to study the possibility of cooperation in rail infrastructure, mobile rail, workshops, new lines, and maintenance of existing railcars.
In the same month, an official source told Egypt Today that ERA needs 12 rail test machines to detect and repair defects in railroads revealing that contracts to purchase eight of those are being finalized.
ERA will receive four rail test machines worth €8.5 million by the end of 2020 supplied by an Austrian company with which a contract was signed a few months ago. The machines will enable the authority to better diagnose defects in the railroads which would increase the safety, and inhibit derailment accidents.
France-Africa Summit secretary general praises Egypt’s experience in infrastructure
Investment Minister Sahar Nasr meets with Secretary General of France-Africa Summit 2020 Stephanie Rivoal Reminisces- press photo
CAIRO – 8 November 2019: Ambassador Stephanie Rivoal Reminisces, the Secretary General of France-Africa Summit 2020, has hailed Egypt’s experience in the infrastructure field mainly with regard to the the sustainable and smart cities as well as digitization which she said offers investment opportunities to the private sector.
During her meeting with Investment Minister Sahar Nasr, the French diplomat added that France prioritizes consolidating strategic relations with the African countries, topped by Egypt, the current president of the African Union.
The meeting is held on Friday as part of Reminisces’s current visit to Egypt to hold talks with the government on preparations for the anticipated summit, slated for June, 2020. This year’s summit will focus on the sustainable cities.
Several heads of state and government will address the summit and meetings among businessmen from all over the African continents will be held as part of the summit’s activities, Reminisces said.
About 1,000 investors representing major, small and medium sized- businesses have been invited to the summit, Reminisces added.
Meanwhile, Nasr asserted Egypt’s keenness on developing cooperation with France at economic, development and investment levels.
She hailed successes achieved through the French investments in Egypt which she said hit 5.2 billion dollars with 160 French companies operating in the country.
Egypt urges World Bank, IMF to support regional integrity in Africa
CAIRO – 18 October 2019: Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr called on the World Bank and IMF to boost their support to Egypt in achieving regional integrity and intra-trade in Africa, a press release on Friday read.
Addressing the Intergovernmental Group of 24 on International Monetary Affairs and Development in Washington, Nasr called on the WB and International Monetary Fund to expand investments in the region.
The minister said that Egypt’s vision to face the slowdown in global economic growth and trade tensions is to achieve more economic integration and continue to take the path of reform to make our economies more competitive and attractive for investment, to achieve the aspirations of the world countries in growth and development.
Nasr explained that the Egyptian government has implemented a comprehensive economic and social reform program to promote sustainable growth, alleviate poverty, create good jobs, enable the private sector to promote growth, and provide opportunities for all sectors of society to participate in the economy, especially women and young entrepreneurs.
The Minister added that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, as the chairman of the African Union, has set the achievement of regional economic integration as a top priority.
Nasr also discussed Wednesday with the World Bank the provision of $500 million for the pollution control and solid waste management project in Egypt.
Nasr added in a statement that Egypt is also discussing with the World Bank raising the level of partnership to support the health and education sectors in Egypt.
For his part, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa Farid Belhadj affirmed that Egypt is a very important country for the bank’s fields of work.
“Therefore the World Bank is keen to contribute effectively to the efforts exerted to achieve development in Egypt, especially in the field of infrastructure, in light of the economic and legislative reform that contributed to improving the investment climate in Egypt,”Belhadj explained.