According to the Barclays Africa Prosper report, approximately four in 10 Batswana (42 percent) said they would invest or save if they found themselves with an extra $100 (P920) at the end of the month. The Botswana score is significantly lower than the Ghanaians (82 percent) and Kenyans (63 percent) who said they were more likely to invest additional funds.
While factors such as unattractive interest rates and lower disposable incomes could be influencing factors in the lower savings culture, the report shows that the Botswana percentage is also lower than the Africa average which stood at 49 percent, meaning about five in 10 would invest the extra funds.
However Botswana compares much favourably with its neighbours, South Africa where only 28 percent of the respondents said they are likely to invest while another 28 percent said they are likely to use the additional funds to pay off debt. The online survey, which was conducted in 11 African countries, was aimed at finding out what success means to people, and how their individual aspirations are transforming the African economy. Over 7,000 people were interviewed in the survey with 549 participants being Batswana.
Statistics show that though earnings in Botswana are better than other Sub-Saharan countries, the level of personal savings is still considerably low.
An October 2012 World Bank report highlighted that only one in six (16 percent) people in Botswana had made a savings in the past 12 months. But in a country like Mauritius, which has a similar standard of living as that in Botswana, the rate was as high as one in three people (31 percent).
The lower savings rates were also reflected in the Bank of Botswana financial statistics, which showed that as at July this year, banks held about P53 billion in deposits, only 22 percent (P10 billion) belonged to the household sector. This is a marked contrast from the 60 percent of loan and advances that households owed banks.
When presenting the findings of the report on Wednesday, Barclays Head of Marketing and Communications, Racheal Mushaike said 64 percent of respondents in Botswana had highlighted lack of finances as a major barrier to prosperity, but it was also the easiest aspect of their life to change.
Most respondents feel the lack of finances can be changed, it is therefore not seen as a permanent state but one that can be altered, she said.
Barclays Botswana managing director, Reinette Van Der Merwe, stated that since people work hard for the money, they would understandably want their money to work for them.
What is particularly encouraging is that when further questioned the youth of Africa would rather invest their money to fund further education than to spend it on flashy consumer goods, she said.
She further said Africans viewed investment, education and savings as the main drivers of prosperity, which could open the doors to economic growth.
It is also clear that Africas emerging youth represents the continent with an unprecedented opportunity to deepen our human capital and with the right tools, tomorrows decision makers can unlock Africas potential, said Van Der Merwe.
However, 50 percent of the respondents stated that lack of opportunities were an obstacle to their progress, while 25 percent said lack of financial advice hindered them from prospering.
The report also indicated that respondents viewed investments, education and savings, as the main routes to financial freedom.
The survey revealed that major obstacles to financial prosperity reported by respondents included lack of finance, with 50 percent indicating lack of opportunities to make more money, while 26.2 percent reported poor financial advice.