I watched her as she collected a few coins from her customer, this was thirty Kenya shillings more to her account, a tiny step away from poverty and unbeknown to her one towards financial independence. One by one customer streamed into the tiny posho mill, each with maize in different containers and some in sacks. This was her hustle as she was a small business owner. The posho mill would be brought to life by her assistant, yes the business was doing so well that she could afford to hire. I don’t really know why she did it, but I'm quite sure she ripped the benefits, she understood the importance of not only having her own posho mill but also being present to ensure that the day to day running of her small business is smooth.
Financial literacy is a key tool. One that we all need, one that moves “mountains” literally. For women and African women, financial literacy is a luxury. 70% of African women are financially illiterate this translates to them being excluded from making financial decisions that not only affect them but also their environment. Most women cannot access financial literacy and they don't even know that they need it. Financial literacy which is very much influential is thought through neither is it put into consideration. Financial literacy gives women an upper hand. It is a form of self-care, it is a form of empowerment one that all African women need to tap.
Financial literacy according to Investopedia is the ability to understand and effectively apply various financial skills, including personal financial management, budgeting, and investing. By contrast, financial illiteracy refers to the lack of such skills.
This basically means that when one understands how money works, a number of things will be thoroughly understood:
1. Wealth is a mindset.
Wealthy people did bot get to a six-figure by mistake neither was it by luck but by the mere fact that wealth starts in the mind. A wealthy mindset is a set of beliefs, habits, and behaviours that separates the wealthy from the rest. A wealth mindset will guide you to make the most of the money you have. It doesn’t come easy. A wealth mindset means spending less, making wise investments, and looking for ways to improve financial standing with minimal risk.
The average wealthy person spends 10 times more time planning their finances than the average middle-class individual.Thomas J. Stanley, “The Millionaire Next Door”
To create money, one has to programme themself to ensure that they develop habits that will push them to making money and ripping the benefits.
When a woman finally grasps the financial reigns, they wouldn't shy from debt because not all debt is bad debt. With financial literacy comes the luxury of managing debt. At some point, we all have found ourselves in the big old debt hole. If financially empowered, women will understand, how much they owe and to whom, the amount of interest that the debt accrues. They will also be privy to information that will help them understand which debt to pay first(the ones with the highest interest), how to create and stick to a payment calendar and most importantly understand when they need help.
3. Building an emergency fund.
If African women are financially liberated then they will understand the importance of an emergency fund. An emergency fund is a financial safety net set aside for unexpected expenses or mishaps. Generally, an adequate fund tends to cover six months worth of expenses or more. Emergency Funds are for “when” not “if” stuff happens. Building and sticking to an emergency fund is paramount as it sets the tone for saving or investing. If one can be disciplined enough to save then they can be disciplined enough to save in order to invest. This fund is important as it ensures safety in case of an emergency like the Covid-19 pandemic or being let go from work.
4.Budgeting and Investing.
Budgeting a common yet misunderstood term in most households. Budgeting is simply balancing one’s expenses with one's income. Everyone who has the right financial mindset lives on a budget. Budgeting is important as it not only puts funds into perspective but it also gives room for budget forecasting and planning.
Budgeting is telling your money where it needs to go instead of wondering where it went.~ Dave Ramsey.
Investing ensures present and future long-term financial security. The money generated from your investments can provide financial security and income.
Women are often left out when it comes to matters finance. It happens in every part of the world and in African countries, the story is the same. Financial illiteracy and exclusion is African countries has been fuelled by a number of reasons, the main reason being the African culture which is male-dominated. In this part of the world it is believed that most women should access money neither should they earn. Money and women don’t mix, because traditionally a woman role is in the kitchen whilst important roles like finances are left to them. This is a cancer that ravages the continent to date. Women in Africa should not only learn about money but they should also be included in all spaces where financial decisions are made.