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A savings group in Ghana

New research published today reveals that women on low incomes in the UK are much less likely to save as those in Ghana, where many live on less than US$2 a day.

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Women in Ghana have proved that saving a little regularly can help achieve a more resilient financial future.
Catharine French, RBB Director of Corporate Affairs

New research published today reveals that women on low incomes in the UK are much less likely to save as those in Ghana, where many live on less than US$2 a day.

The study undertaken by Banking on Change, a partnership between Barclays, CARE International UK and Plan UK, found that 94 per cent of women in Ghana are saving each month compared to just 55 per cent in the UK.

The partnership aims to lift around 400,000 people out of poverty in 11 developing countries by developing and extending access to basic financial services in the form of community-managed savings groups. 

The partnership’s experience has found that it is women and girls who tend to be most involved in the management of the community savings groups. Therefore the research focused on women in low-income households in the UK and Ghana, comparing attitudes to savings, debt and future expectations.

Key findings:

  • Over a quarter (27 per cent) of women in Britain believe saving is a priority, compared to 92 per cent in Ghana. 
  • Less than two-thirds of young women in the UK (57 per cent) expect to earn more in the future, compared to 87 per cent in Ghana
  • Only half of women in the UK believe they have the skills to earn more money, as opposed to nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) in Ghana
  • Less than half (41 per cent) of the young women in the UK want to run their own business, compared to 90 per cent in Ghana
  • Only a third of women in the UK consider themselves ambitious, compared to 79 per cent in Ghana.  
  • Financial skills proved equally lacking among women in both countries in terms of ability to save, with 55 per cent in Ghana and 52 per cent in the UK feeling they lack the skills of knowledge to save. 
  • Women in both countries associate high levels of guilt with borrowing money – 55 per cent in Ghana and 67 per cent in the UK.

Catharine French, RBB Director of Corporate Affairs, said: “Women in Ghana have proved that saving a little regularly can help achieve a more resilient financial future. The partnership  is able to engage with hard-to-reach groups and widen access to basic financial services, providing women like those in Ghana with the expertise and support to secure a brighter future for their families.”

Marie Staunton, Chief Executive of Plan UK, said: “These findings tell us that women in Ghana have the ability to lift themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty.  They have incredible ambition – they just need the tools to help them realise their vision.  That’s why we support village savings and loans groups, through Banking on Change, which enable women who don’t have access to banks to put aside a little money every week, or every month, and make a lasting change.”

Geoffrey Dennis, Chief Executive at CARE International UK said: “This survey shows that no-one is too poor to save. We know that savings are a safety net – with tiny amounts of money, people can literally save their way from the edge of poverty and go on to invest in the future of their family. The women in Ghana we surveyed are leading the way and we have much to learn from them.”

Banking on Change is part of Barclays community investment programme, which focuses on enterprise, employment, financial capability and financial inclusion.  

About the survey
123 women in the UK and 106 women in Ghana between the ages of 18 and 34 were interviewed between 9 December 2011 and 6 January 2012.  The interviews were semi-structured, containing qualitative and quantitative questions.

The UK survey was conducted by telephone interview with women from across the United Kingdom; in Ghana the women were interviewed face-to-face in the regions of Greater Accra and Volta.  56% of the UK women interviewed have household annual incomes of £15,000 or less (after tax) a year; in Ghana, 77% have an annual income of 2400GHc or less (equivalent to £901) a year.
 

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