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Kazakhstan to Enact Financial Education Programme
Source: http://centralasiaonline.com/
Source Date: Friday, December 20, 2013
Focus: Citizen Engagement
Country: Kazakhstan
Created: Dec 24, 2013

Kazakh citizens will soon have a chance to learn about banking and finance in simple language.

MTsEG, Kazakhstan's first NGO dedicated to increasing the nation's financial knowledge, will launch the campaign in February 2014. Economists, financiers, and one of Kazakhstan's banks are fully behind the project and consultants will be involved in developing the brochures and ads.

Raising financial awareness

Statistics Department data indicate that 90% of Kazakhs need or use financial service, but not everyone is acquainted with terms such as annuity, leasing, or balance of payments and only a few think about financial security, personal welfare, or making the correct decision when choosing one bank over another.

MTsEG's campaign will teach about such terms, financial products and services, and also how to plan a budget.

Organisers said the services will be free.

"We want everyone … ordinary people, rural residents, grandmothers, and retirees to understand all aspects of banking, whether it concerns bank loans or figuring out how to deposit pensions," MTsEG Director Saltanat Dzharasova said.

"We want them to know which bank would offer them the best interest rates and have at least some kind of guarantees."

The programme will create a public council of experts, which will include members of state agencies and the business community, MPs, leading experts, representatives of mass media outlets and famous Kazakhs.

Outreach seminars will be part of the campaign. Training sessions, educational programmes, textbooks, games, and interactive services among others will serve as instruments to increase financial literacy.

More precise methods to conduct the campaign will be formed after the results from the study have been processed.

However, it is already clear that the educational programmes will be designed to present information in a plain and simple format, since it needs to reach the general populace.

Fortifying a financial foundation

MTsEG began measuring the nation's financial literacy in 2012.

Their study showed that only a third of the country's populace was knowledgeable in the field of economics, and that the most popular banking services comprised five basic financial products: pre-paid debit cards used to pay wages, utility payment, consumer credit, CDs and credit cards.

"Only a small fraction of our citizens have developed an understanding of the financial products and services, which are currently offered on the market, and can put together a coherent family budget and make correct decisions in terms of personal finance," Dzharasova said.

Developed countries also use more than 100 financial products and services but Kazakhs use only about 10, she added.

It is critical to focus on the most popular products and help Kazakhs understand more complex financial products that they will handle at some point in the future, according to organisers.

"We believe that helping Kazakhs to better understand finance is one of the most important and strategic priorities," said Kaspibank's Chairman of the Board, Mikhail Lomtadze. "Any investment in education is incredibly important and strategic."

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