Ruto: Kenya is the country with the least saving culture

President William Ruto expressed his frustration with the country’s poor saving culture while addressing Kenya Kwanza parliamentary members in Naivasha yesterday.

“Kenya is the country with the least saving culture. Tanzania has a better saving culture than us,” said Ruto. 

The President was expressing his legislative agenda, telling the parliamentarian there is an urgent need to change this culture. He said the country has saved about KSh. 1.5 trillion, which is smaller than that of Uganda.

“Investment is a function of saving. You can only invest if you have saved,” he said.

Kenyans save the least in East Africa and the saving rate is below the continent’s average, that is according to an analysis by EFG Hermes released last year.

According to the report looking at different investment options in the country, Kenya’s saving rate is at 12 per cent, way below Africa’s average of 17 per cent.

By contrast, neighbouring Uganda and Tanzania have already crossed the 20 per cent mark even though their per capita income is significantly lower.

The report attributes Kenya’s poor saving culture to high spending power, especially among young people who follow international trends closely, thanks to the country’s technological advancement.

“Kenyans are well connected to the world, thanks to both high mobile phone and internet penetration. Most young people tend to copy expensive lifestyles in the west, hence high spending power,” the report said.

It added that saving culture is natural at a tender age but most families in the country shy away from the subject.

“There is a huge disconnect between parents and their children. Very minimal mentoring and financial literacy. Kenya lack cultural identity, hence copying the west,” the report added.

This, among other factors including the high poverty rate, is perhaps the reason why 80 per cent of the country’s population lacks a saving plan, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

The legislators will hear from National Social Security Fund and other professionals on how they can be influential in transforming the saving culture.

“It is not how much money you spend. It is where do you spend money so that you get value for every coin you spend,” said Ruto.

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