The world’s first Financial Prosperity Barometer investigated the concept of prosperity across multiple markets and global regions. The report focused on the relationship between financial services and prosperity in high-growth markets and discovered myriad views on what defines prosperity and financial inclusion.
The report targeted Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa to gather insights from these high-growth African markets and to establish the limitations of financial inclusion, the value of financial services, and the key characteristics that define prosperity. Surprisingly, Kenya (88 percent), Nigeria (94 percent) and South Africa (70 percent) had an overwhelmingly positive view on how their household situation would change over the next year. Most considered themselves to be prosperous, even though their income was less than what is seen to be the average.
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The research by PayU, the fintech and e-payments division of Prosus, found that Kenyans considered education (44 percent) and health (45 percent) as more important indicators of prosperity than being wealthy (38). They also included a loving family (37 percent) and a well-paying job (35 percent) in their top five characteristics of a prosperous person. In Nigeria, wealth (48 percent) was at the top of the list with a well-paying job (31 percent) at the bottom, while in South Africa, the top drivers of prosperity were health (45 percent), education (44 percent) and a well-paying job (41 percent).
When asked what the word ‘prosperity’ meant to them, South Africans opted for savings, not having to worry about money, and being happy in their lives as their top three. Nigeria opted for being able to afford anything they wanted, being able to help the less fortunate, and being happy with their lives. In Kenya, the top three were savings, good health and being able to afford whatever you want. The striking insight is that in countries considered poorer by international standards, the values of health and happiness are emphasized over wealth and money.
PayU’s Financial Prosperity Barometer: Perceptions of prosperity in high-growth markets also identified interesting trends around how these countries perceived financial services. In Nigeria, a significant percentage believe that financial services help people plan for their future prosperity (85 percent) and that the more people have access to financial services, the more prosperous the country would be (72 percent). That said, only 52 percent agreed that people could not be prosperous if they didn’t have access to financial services.
For the Kenyans, 92 percent believed that financial services helped people plan for their future prosperity and 77 percent agreed that the more access to financial services, the better. South Africans dipped the scale considerably with only 63 percent believing that access to financial services would make the country more prosperous. But all three countries identified the need for their governments to do more to improve access to financial services – the average of 80 percent significantly higher than most other countries.
The study identified that Africa showed the highest preference for using mobile money providers for managing their money, a fact borne out by the impressive growth of money mobile services in the sub-Saharan Africa region. These countries came in at a much lower rate of use for traditional banking (36 percent) particularly for saving and growing their money and managing their finances. The adoption of mobile money services has transformed access to financial services and perceptions of prosperity
in the region.
Corrie Bakker, Head of Strategy & Business Development, PayU Africa, commented on the findings: “The results point to an Africa that’s positive about the impact of financial services on the prosperity of their country and their lives. The emotional benefits of financial services were easier to identify than the practical ones, with many giving security and peace of mind the highest value.
The report also highlights how differently prosperity is defined across the different regions, and yet how similar people’s goals remain when it comes to family, health and wellbeing. Prosperity is driven by more than money, it’s defined by access to services, the health of the people who matter, and their access to stable jobs. Technology lies at the heart of building a truly prosperous continent and is already changing the way Africa banks, manages finances and engages with money.”