FRANCISTOWN: The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has a lot of work to do to enlighten Batswana about its mandate and the importance of investing in the stock market.
This was said by various speakers at the BSE open day held in Francistown last week under the theme: Opening BSE to the community.
The purpose of the event was to increase the bourse’s reach in the northeast region, to sensitise and educate the public about the stock market and the importance of investing.
The speakers indicated that the mandate of BSE is complex and that it requires enormous time for the public to understand it.
An aspiring farmer, Gladys Moteme, who said she wants to buy shares at the bourse, said BSE should engage in an aggressive public education campaign to teach members of the public about their mandate.
“I am not ashamed to stand in front of you and tell you that I am one of many people who know nothing about investing in the stock exchange. BSE can overcome this obstacle if it engages in a nationwide campaign to teach Batswana about what products and services it offers otherwise the status quo would remain,” said Moteme.
Some people believe that lack of investing know-how is the main reason that causes people not to know the mandate of the BSE.
“In Botswana even people who have received financial education often don’t learn the practical steps needed to make good investment decisions. There’s no effective financial education in the school system,” said one woman at the event.
Sam Masunga, who was the guest speaker, cited financial literacy as a tool that should be greatly utilised to teach people about the stock exchange.
He said in recent years, financial literacy has assumed greater importance as financial markets have become increasingly complex, making it difficult for the common man to understand.
He emphasised the need to continue to tackle issues of financial literacy in a bid to raise awareness about the importance of financial education through various mediums and platforms.
“The interactions and discussions we shall undertake here today should bring forth exchange of knowledge and ideas to how one can derive benefits from investing in BSE-listed companies and securities,” he said.
Masunga said the exchange of knowledge should be harnessed so that sustainable financial independence and wealth creation can be realised.
BSE chief executive officer, Thapelo Tsheole stated that the open day initiative serves as a platform to guide participants on the process of investing in the BSE-listed securities and assist in addressing some of the concerns many Batswana may have regarding the stock market.
He acknowledged that education plays a very critical role for people, especially the youth, to understand the role of BSE when answering questions from participants.
Tsheole said they are already doing their best to educate primary school students about the role of BSE.
“We have the annual BSE senior secondary schools competition that will take place again in 2016. The competition is an initiative intended to create awareness among secondary school students on activities related to the stock exchange,” Tsheole said.
According to Tsheole, the competition has been going on since 2013 and it is open to all public and private senior secondary school students.
The programme, Tsheole stated, has also been rolled out to primary school students.