Personal Finance Management In The Gambia: Insights From 2018 Survey

Data from the 2018 personal financial management survey in the Gambia shows a gap in financial literacy among youths.

A Gambian personal finance blogger and Amazon bestselling author, Ebrima Sawaneh has released a survey report on personal financial management practice in the Gambia. The survey was conducted in 2018 via an online poll among Gambians between ages 18 and above, of which 95 per cent have acquired at least a college diploma qualification.

According to the report author, Ebrima Sawaneh, “the report highlights that around three in five participants do not prepare a budget, while only three in ten have more than D50,000 ($1,000) in their savings and short-term investment account.”

Some 139 participants took part in the survey which evaluated the participants’ financial management practice in savings, borrowings, budgeting, risk management and satisfaction with their financial condition. The survey also indicates some low financial literacy particularly in appreciating the effect of inflation on the value of savings and investment accounts.

Savings Culture and Financial Satisfaction
The result indicates that half of the respondents are not satisfied with their current financial condition. On a scale of 5, the average self-score was 2.45. Furthermore, out of the 70 respondents who are not satisfied with their financial situations, six out every ten are youths who are in employment and seven out of ten dissatisfied participants do not have more than D50,000 in their short-term investment and savings accounts. The report also shows that females save more than males.
Personal Financial Budget
The data shows that 59 per cent of respondents does not prepare a personal or family budget. Considering the concept of the personal budget as a tool for managing expenses, it shows that most of the respondents do not plan on how to spend or allocate their money.

6-in-10 postgraduate respondents prepare personal budget compared to 2-in-10 HND holders. This analysis shows some close relationship between education and appreciating the need for a personal budget.

“One major factor that influence individuals desire to prepare a budget has to do with their financial education. When people appreciate the importance of a budget, then the preparation and monitoring will be less bored,” said Sawaneh.

Financial Literacy and Income sources

Even with 70% graduated respondents, the report reveals that many of the respondents are not financially literate as only 6-in-10 were able to answer both questions about inflation and compound interest correctly. Gender gap issue was also found in financial literacy as male respondents were more financially literate than the females.

Additionally, the survey shows a positive relationship between financial satisfaction and number of income streams. 54.79% of the respondents with one source of income are dissatisfied with their financial condition while only 14.29% of the respondents with more than three income sources feel dissatisfied.

Borrowings and Insurance 
24% of the respondents said they have borrowed for investment while and 40.67% borrowed for consumption. Most employees have borrowed money for consumption when compared to the self-employed. 47.71% of employees said they have borrowed for consumption and only 26.61% borrowed to invest. On the other hand, among the self-employed, 18.18% borrowed to consumed, 22.73% for invest and 59.09% did not borrow in the last three years.

Over half of the respondents (51.80%) have not bought an insurance policy in the last 12 months. Furthermore, 39.57% of respondents have bought motor vehicle insurance compared to 12.95% for health insurance and 3.6% for properties.

Overall, Gambians demonstrate low levels of financial literacy and have difficulty applying financial decision-making skills to real-life situations. For people to apply personal financial management practices they will need some form of financial education.

Therefore, the report recommends, amongst others, the involvement of the Gambia’s regulators, policymakers, academics as well as the private sector in the further study, design and implementation of financial literacy programmes in the Gambia.

About the Survey
The Financial Management Survey was conducted online within the Gambia by Ebrima Sawaneh, a Gambian accountant and blogger. For complete report and methodology, please download the free full report at

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