Report: Pandemic took Kenyans into debt

Thursday, September 17th, 2020 00:00 |
A doctor gets specimen for Covid-19 test. Photo/PD/File

A survey by a leading commercial bank has reveals that 65 per cent of Kenyans are already earning less with more than half of Kenyans expecting the Covid-19 pandemic to further affect their income. 

The survey by Standard Chartered Bank shows that Covid-19 pandemic is significantly impacting personal finances globally. 

Head of Retail Banking, Kenya and East Africa Edith Chumba, said that Kenyans have been particularly hard hit financially, with respondents reporting the highest levels of increased borrowing at 63 per cent, while 72 per cent have reduced their levels of saving. 

According to the survey, Kenyans were among the most confident and willing to adapt with 89 percent believing they have the skills to thrive in a more digital, post-Covid-19 world, 93 percent would set up a second income stream, while 87 percent would retrain or learn a new skill. 

Most confident

Young people aged between 18-34 and are in emerging markets such as Kenya are the most confident in their skills and prepared to work hardest to realize opportunities in a post-Covid world. 

Seventy-five per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds globally (95 percent in Kenya - the highest surveyed) would set up a second income stream; and 72 per cent of all 18 to 44-year-olds (88 percent for this age range in Kenya) would re-skill compared to 37 percent of those aged 55 and over (60 percent in Kenya). 

“Kenya was also the most entrepreneurial nation with 85 percent considering starting a new business to increase their earnings in the next six months.

Kenya’s Millennials and Generation Z are also much more likely than their global peers to respond to the crisis by starting a new business; 87 percent of those aged 18-44 would consider doing so in the next six months, compared to 52 percent globally’ added Chumba. 

Around the world, the level of flexibility, adaptability and entrepreneurialism tends to decrease with age, along with confidence, despite – or perhaps because – older generations are more established in their careers. 

Manage personal finances

In terms of wanting to better manage personal finances, geographical differences were similarly stark.

Again, Kenya ranked highest (93 per cent) followed by respondents in Mainland China (85 per cent), Malaysia (83 per cent) and India (82 per cent) in the proportion of people who want to better manage their money, to make it go further. 

“Young people around the world have been hit particularly hard by the economic impact of the pandemic.

Many are in insecure employment or graduating into a tough job market. Yet their confidence, adaptability and willingness to work hard, especially in fast-growing markets, provides hope for the recovery,” she added.  - KNA

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