Nico Asset Managers, a local portfolio and investment advisory firm, has said lack of awareness on investment opportunities is hampering people’s willingness to invest.
The firm’s chief investment officer Daniel Dunga said Thursday in Lilongwe on the sidelines of a Financial Planning and Wealth Management Seminar that there is need to secure the future through viable long-term investments.
“Investment uptake in the country is very low. If you look at the investment opportunities in Malawi, the easiest one is Malawi Stock Exchange
“But if you ask any group of people whether they have ever bought shares or even considered buying shares, you will be lucky to find five percent. I don’t think investors on stock market exceed five percent of the population,” he said.
Putting this into context, Dunga said in the last Initial Public Offering (IPO)—an act of offering the stock of a company on a public stock exchange for the first time—on Icon Properties, only 1 300 people invested, which is below one percent of the population.
“We need to create more awareness so that people know about the importance of investment and the existing investment opportunities,” he said.
Dunga said the current low interest rates, hovering at between 13.5 percent and 24 percent, is an opportunity that people should look at for investment, adding that when interest rates go up, it is also another opportunity for investment.
Investments Alliance Limited chairperson Simon Itaye said some people have the zeal to invest but they do not have adequate information and do not know where to get that information.
He advised people to consider group investments, saying growth and returns are better compared to lone investments.
Said Itaye: “We seem to invest more in consumption than investing for the future. There are better investment opportunities in the stock market, money and property market.
“If you invest alone, growth is slow while in a group, growth is quicker and higher and the returns also are high.”
He noted that after the Pension Act 2011 came into force, there has been a lot of money floating around in Malawi, saying there is more of pension investment for workers but direct investment remains inadequate.
Figures from Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) show that when the Act was passed in 2011, pension funds were at K74 billion, but seven years down the line, the fund has grown to K716 billion from about 406 000 employees.
In an earlier interview, RBM director of financial services George Chioza observed that citizens would attain a secured financial future by saving and investing in various forms, including in the capital market.
Malawi youths lag behind in agripreneurship—donors
The European Union (EU) and Development Fund of Norway (DFN) say the country’s youths continue to lag behind in agriculture entrepreneurship compared to other sub-Saharan African countries.
EU programme manager Joost Bakkeren and DFN country representative Victor Kachika Jere said in separate interviews on the sidelines of an agripreneurship conference in Lilongwe on Friday that there is need for youths to venture into agriculture to grow the country’s economy.
Bakkeren said there is growing demand for jobs among the youth, but they have neglected the agriculture sector as an industry for self-employment.
“There is a growing population and growing need for job opportunities. That is why we are supporting this effort to help government realise that,” he said.
Bakkeren said the EU is pumping about 250 million euros (about K223 billion) in several projects in the agricultural sector, with part of the funds to support youths who want to venture into agripreneurship.
On his part, Jere said DFN is committed to developing the youth to transform the agriculture sector.
He said: “As Development Fund of Norway, we are contributing to the transformation of the agriculture sector by providing opportunities for those interested in small-scale mechanisation.”
Youth Development Network executive director Gift Numeri said in an interview that youths are now interested in venturing into agribusiness, but they lack knowledge on where to sell their produce.
In his comparative analysis, African Institute for Corporate Citizenship rice platform manager Leornard Chimwaza noted that Africa has the youngest population, with about 60 percent of it being under 35 years.
He said because of this, many youths trek to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana for jobs.