Mbabane, 05 February 2015: FinMark Trust released the results of the FinScope Consumer Swaziland 2014 survey results today. This is the second FinScope Consumer survey conducted in Swaziland. The first one was undertaken in 2011.
The FinScope Survey, developed by FinMark Trust, is a research tool to assess financial access in a country and to identify the constraints that prevent financial service providers from reaching the financially under- and unserved people. The FinScope Survey is a nationally representative survey of how individuals source their incomes and how they manage their financial lives. It also provides insight into attitudes and perceptions regarding financial products and services. The 2014 FinScope Swaziland involved a wide range of stakeholders who were engaged in a comprehensive consultation process, thereby enriching the survey.
To date, FinScope Consumer Surveys have been conducted in 19 countries including Swaziland. The survey was carried out under the auspices of the Micro-Finance Unit (MFU) and funded by FinMark Trust. The sampling frame and weighting of the data was conducted under the guidance of the Central Office of Statistics, Swaziland.
The study was based on a nationally representative sample of 3440 adults who are 18 years or older. The sample is representative at national, urban/rural, and regional levels. Below are some of the highlights from the 2014 survey.
Changes in livelihoods over three years
For the approximately 570,000 estimated adults covered by the survey, the results show an increase in access to infrastructure in 2014 with more adults having access to electricity (49% in 2011 to 64% in 2014) and piped tap water (increased from 41% in 2011 to 49% in 2014). Swazis still face challenges, with only 24% claiming to receive a regular salary, 68% personally earning less than SZL2,000 per month (1USD = SZL11) and 1 in 3 dependent on someone else for money.
Increase in levels of financial inclusion in Swaziland
This year’s survey results indicate an increase in the level of financial inclusion in Swaziland, with only 27% of adults 18 years or older classified as financially excluded from 37% in 2011; that is they do not use any formal or informal financial product or service to manage their financial lives. This increase in financial inclusion is mainly driven by an increase in ownership of basic banking cards.
In total, 54% of the adult population is banked, 56% use non-bank products and services and 40% use informal mechanisms to manage their finances. 64% of adults are classified as formally served and 9% as informally served. Of those who are unbanked, the main barriers were affordability, including inability to maintain minimum balance (34%).
The level of financial inclusion is higher among urban residents (84%) compared to rural (68%), civil servants (99.5%) and company employees (92%) compared to irregular earners (55%).
The study found that 35% of adults in Swaziland do not save. 30% of adults are saving at the bank, a further 10% have other formal non-bank savings mechanisms but don’t use the bank, a further 13% rely on informal saving mechanisms such as savings groups without using formal means, while 12% are saving at home only.
Credit and borrowing
The results show that in the 12 months preceding the survey, 41% of adults in Swaziland claimed to have either borrowed money or taken goods on credit. 7% of adults borrowed money from a bank, a further 3% had other formal non-bank credit but did not use banks, 16% used informal mechanisms such as money lenders , while 15% used friends and family only. Swazis saved and borrowed for similar reasons: living expenses, farming and medical expenses.
Insurance driven by funeral insurance
73% of adults do not have any kind of financial product covering risk. Insurance cover is driven by funeral insurance (19%) and Masingcwabisane (8%). The three main barriers to insurance uptake are related to affordability, not needing it or never thinking about it. As far as the plans of Swazi adults to meet major expenses are concerned, the two strategies mentioned for such expenses were savings (39%) and relying on family (23%).
42% of adults in Swaziland either send or receive money from others. The use of cell phones for remittances has grown from 0.3% in 2011 to 25% in 2014.
Although about 96% of adult Swazis surveyed have access to mobile phones, only 21% are registered users of mobile money. Lack of information on mobile money is the major barrier identified by the survey.
Overall, the level of financial inclusion in Swaziland has increased. It is worth mentioning that the level of financial inclusion is hampered by income regularity as most financial products are pegged on regularity of income.
The study reveals areas of low financial literacy. 4 in 5 Swazis claim to find personal finances stressful, 60% find it difficult to keep up with financial commitments and only 52% claim to understand the terms and conditions of contracts. To this end, financial literacy/education campaigns could prove valuable to assist in the financial decision-making of adults. This signals future areas that need to be carefully managed by proper communication of the risks to these individuals.
FinScope was launched in 2002 by the FinMark Trust (www.finmark.org.za). Its purpose is to establish credible benchmarks on the use of, and access to, financial services in South Africa. It is designed to highlight opportunities for innovation in products and delivery. The FinScope survey is a comprehensive and national representative study on financial inclusion, looking at how people source their income and manage their financial lives. It has been implemented in 19 countries (11 in SADC, 5 non-SADC Africa and 3 in Asia).
Nitha Ramnath (Ms)
Tel: 011 315-9197 / 0829214769