BOAF – Is Africa poor because we are ignorant on financial matters?
Financial Literacy is essential for the future of Africa to be a progressive and prosperous one.
The future of Africa is not secure because those whom we assume to know are not knowledgeable about the things that they are supposed to know. Based on the present, what is the plausible trajectory of Africa?
The challenge is that, there is nowhere to go in search for understanding on fundamentals as answers on questions raised on the issue whether dividends are discretionary or mandatory, seem not to be consistent or shared. Among chartered accountants, you do not get the same answer and so among financial journalists. Where are answers to be found and who is the authority on the relationship between shareholders and dividends?
There are individuals who say dividends are discretionary and there are some who say dividends give them rights that are of a contractual nature. Can dividends be contractual or non-contractual? Do dividends confer on a shareholder a contractual or non-contractual claim on profit? Why is it important? It is important because it is always the harvest that divides people, not the sowing. When you look at company returns, its always the case that there are disputes. Even between races, there is always a dispute that are whites rich because the privilege comes from a contractual claim or the privilege comes from service.
Addressing a group of financial journalism students, at workshop on Reporting on Financial Matters at Wits University school of journalism, renowned financial journalist, Siki Mgabadeli said, “There is a burden being put on journalists to do financial literacy. The more resourced a newsroom is, the more focus on such matters, the less resources there are, the less attention that is be paid to issues like financial literacy.” Ms. Mgabadeli went on further to state that, “I think we need to take our rightful place in teaching people about financial matters and how all the big decisions affect them because if we do not do that, we are going to have too many people making ill-informed decisions about their own lives and about their future.”