Leveraging technology to promote financial literacy

Technology continues to revolutionise the financial services landscape. From mobile payments, app based investing platforms, financial technology has revolutionised not only how consumers receive financial services but also how they expect to receive such services. Core financial institutions are expected to be radically reconfigured as a result of technological innovations. Financial education is therefore an important cog for promoting financial technology.

Financial education is the process of building knowledge, skills and attitudes to become financially literate. It is meant to inculcate people on good money management practices with respect to earning, spending, saving, borrowing, and investing. Financial education is meant to enable people to shift from reactive to proactive decision-making and work towards fulfilling their financial goals. By broadening people’s understanding of financial options and principles, financial education builds skills to use financial products and services, and promotes attitudes and behaviours that support more effective use of financial resources.

It is crucial that financial literacy be introduced at almost all levels. The curricula for financial education should include components to help students develop an understanding of the appropriate skills relating to the roles of money, credit, budgets, financial planning and other relevant personal finance topics in order to permit them to understand and appropriately manage their finances.

The increasing complexity of the financial system makes it clear that strengthening the financial knowledge and skills of the people is critical for their future success and financial stability. Financial literacy is important in the life journey of everyone, from primary school, secondary school, tertiary level and for the employed or unemployed. It allows one to make thoughtful informed decisions concerning their finances.

Once financial literacy is created it will in time be channeled via financial intermediaries and capital markets and transformed into investments in both private and public sectors through loans to companies and capital market investments.  If more citizens choose to save through formal mechanisms more capital will be made available to increase the productive capacity of the economy.

 

The whole ecosystem from government, parastatals, municipalities and privately owned corporates can all play a critical role in achieving the financial education drive and can further reap the benefits of enhancing financial inclusion and a saving and investment culture to promote economic development.

Financial literacy enables citizens of all ages and economic positions to remain in touch with changes in financial needs and circumstances, and to take advantage of products like the C-TRADE platform and services that best meet their goals. With financial inclusion initiatives and mobile technology penetration progressing at an unprecedented pace, Escrow has developed technology solutions which meets the needs of the modern investor. The C-TRADE Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) platform  enables investors on non- smartphones to buy and sell shares by simply dialing the *727# short code across all mobile networks in Zimbabwe giving every Zimbabwean direct access to the capital market with enhanced efficiency and convenience. For those with internet access C-TRADE online and the C-TRADE mobile app makes it possible for Zimbabwean in the country or in the diaspora to invest in shares anytime, anywhere. For the citizenry to take full advantage of these platforms the financial education aspect becomes crucial.

In conclusion, there is need for continued efforts by all stakeholders to invest significantly in bridging the financial literacy gap in our society by providing financial literacy programmes particularly to primary and secondary school children, university and college students and other special interest groups such as youths and women. Financial products of this day should seek to promote financial inclusion by targeting the once secluded sections of the economy.

 

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