Finweek English Edition - - MONEY -

Stokvels are not only a South African phe­nom­e­non, but an African one. Peo­ple of var­i­ous African na­tion­al­i­ties liv­ing in SA also have a con­cept of stokvel that they use to save money. And this is used for an even greater pur­pose – start­ing busi­nesses.

The en­ter­prise de­vel­op­ment as­pect is quite big in stokvels of all th­ese coun­tries. For ex­am­ple in Le­sotho, which is dom­i­nated by agri­cul­ture, peo­ple use pro­ceeds from their stokvels to help one another other buy cat­tle for breed­ing pur­poses.

Nk­gadima says that South African stokvels could learn a lot from Nige­rian ones. “Nige­rian stokvels are geared to­wards en­ter­prise de­vel­op­ment. If you get the stokvel money [fel­low stokvel mem­bers will say], ‘Show us the business, what did you do?’” she says.

Sen­nelo says that Nige­rian mem­bers are ex­pected to be ac­count­able for the money loaned to them and it must be on record. “After they have loaned you the money you have to show them what the money was used for, your prof­its, you have to be ac­count­able for each cent they’ve given you and if you don’t, you get pe­nalised and have to pay back all the money, with in­ter­est.

“And if you’ve failed and you don’t come back with some sort of show­cas­ing to show that this business is grow­ing, you get pe­nalised,” she ex­plains. While burial stokvels make up the bulk of the stokvel sec­tor, in­vest­ment stokvels, although only said to be mak­ing up 4% of the in­dus­try, are be­gin­ning to be­come more prom­i­nent.

“We are start­ing to see younger males tap­ping into in­vest­ments types of stokvels and the val­ues of their stokvels are much higher,” says Nk­gadima.

Un­like var­i­ous types of stokvels that may have mem­bers con­tribut­ing R100 on av­er­age, in­vest­ment stokvels have mem­bers in­di­vid­u­ally in­vest­ing R1 000 on av­er­age.

“Stokvels are evolv­ing, with birth­day and in­vest­ment stokvels, but it does not mean they are drop­ping the things they used to do in the past. But they are adding other things that are rel­e­vant,” says Nk­gadima.

Nasasa has Stokvel Ind­abas and i t may i nt r oduce a n i nvest ment sum­mit and test the wa­ters in terms of how many stokvels are in­ter­ested in in­vest­ing their ac­cess sav­ings in the stock mar­ket, says Mazwai.

Hollo says in­vest­ment and gro­cery s t ok vels a r e t he f a s t e s t- g r owing seg­ment i n t he mar­ket. This is an in­di­ca­tion of the evolv­ing needs of the grow­ing black mid­dle class.

“We grew up in an en­vi­ron­ment where stokvels were the norm and we

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