BY MORTON SIBALE
JANUARY 29, MANA; The Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE) says more needs to be done in financial literacy in order to bridge the knowledge gap among many Malawians with regards to investing in the stock market.
MSE Operations Manager, Kelline Kanyangala said this in an interview when Malawi News Agency sought to find out if the stock market has done enough to penetrate all sections of the Malawian society.
She said that though there has been noticeable growth in interest and participation by Malawians investing in shares, statistics show that many Malawians still do not have access to formal and informal financial services including the stock market.
“A 2014 study revealed that over 51 percent of adults in Malawi are financially excluded. It is therefore not only a problem of stock market but financial inclusion in general, which calls for various financial literacy initiatives from various stakeholders,” Kanyangala said.
However, Kanyangala lauded the efforts that various stakeholders are already undertaking to improve financial literacy in Malawi, expressing hope that the knowledge gap will be bridged in the near future.
“Various stakeholders are collaborating to improve the situation. For instance, financial education is now integrated into the Malawi national secondary school education curriculum.
This means more people will learn and understand what it means to invest in stocks,” Kanyangala said.
Concurring with Kanyangala, Chancellor College Economics lecturer, Ben Kalua said deliberate measures have to be put in place by the Reserve Bank to ensure that there is financial inclusion and improved interest in the stock market.
“Financial inclusion challenges are linked to policies of capitalism. There has to be deliberate measure to ensure that the middle-class have access to such financial services as stock market,” Kalua said.
Kalua suggested offering loans to people as one way of ensuring that there is improved interest and participation with regards to investing in shares.
“Banks can for instance offer loans for their customers to buy shares. In addition, a lot of middle-class people in Malawi belong to various pension schemes and those can also be used to buy shares,” Kalua said.
There are currently 14 companies listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange. Recently, one of the leading mobile service providers Airtel Malawi placed part of its shares for sale on the stock market.