Cape Town, 26 May 2018 - FINANCIAL literacy is one of the most important skills that a young person needs to learn. This philosophy is at the heart of the Smartbucks financial literacy programme, which ensures that greater emphasis is put on this life skill, allowing high school learners to emerge with greater financial acumen. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, in an international study of 30 countries, South Africa had performed the worst in terms of financial literacy competency , with the average level of literacy sitting at just 30%.
The decisions of those who lack financial education could have negative consequences on their lives and that of the country's economy in future.
These alarming statistics are the driver behind the Smartbucks programme, which aims to generate a vibrant savings culture among young people to assist them to transition into economically active and money wise adults.
Liberty divisional director of corporate affairs and sustainability Xolisa Vapi said: "As Liberty we strongly believe that interventions such as these go a long way in creating an inclusive economy which the country is in dire need of. Our programmes are aimed at enabling financial freedom for future generations, hence our focus on schools. With the Smartbucks programme, we broadened our reach and went for a wider national footprint - reaching about 15 000 learners." he added.
Calgro M3 CEO Wikus Lategan said: "We strongly believe that by supporting educational initiatives, we can make a meaningful difference to change the well-being of all South Africans, in line with our tagline of Building Legacies, Changing Lives. The Smartbucks programme, which teaches learners about financial concepts such as managing debt, looking after one's savings and spending wisely, in an engaging, fun way, while delivering powerful messages, is something that we can really get behind."
The programme is being presented to Grade 9, 10, 11 and 12 learners in a movie format and will be screened at selected Ster-Kinekor theatres across South Africa every Saturday morning from May 5 to June 2.
The new demographic of skilled workers introduced by free education will require an understanding of how to manage their money to achieve sustainable transformation for themselves and their families.
According to the National Credit Regulator, South Africa's credit active consumers have R1.7 trillion in combined debt. Additionally , a 2014 survey conducted by the World Bank found that South Africans are the world's biggest borrowers. The household debt-to-GDP ratio is 44%, which is alarming when compar ed to the median benchmark of 22% for emerging markets. To compound this, South Africa still has a less than favourable savings record. With a savings rate of only 15.4%of the GDP, this is far below the desired rate of 25%, according to the South African Reserve Bank.
A prevalent culture of consumerism, family dependency and low-levels of financial literacy are some of the serious issues that have been cited behind the poor levels of savings.
The World Bank, referring to the economie and social benefits of education said: "For individuals, education promotes employment, earnings and health. It raises pride and opens new horizons. For societies, it drives longterm economic growth, reduces poverty, spurs innovation, strengthens institutions and fosters social cohesion."
With the assistance of key strategic partners and sponsors, Primestars last year reached over 90 000 historically disadvantaged high school learners nationally