The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) announced a move to spread financial literacy particularly in the area of capital markets investment with a series of courses. These courses are designed to impart knowledge to people on how to trade on the ZSE and other courses will focus on providing company personnel with skills to enhance their corporate standing. While Zimbabweans at home and abroad have adopted platforms such as C trade and other apps to participate in the ZSE the move by the ZSE is still of interest.

While there are many courses which will be of interest to corporates such as “how to raise money on the ZSE” the main course of interest will be “how to invest on the ZSE” which will be delivered as a 6-week online course. As a person who uses C-trade, I can’t help but think this is a little late by the ZSE. However, better late than never. It will be interesting to see how the course will fair in the general public

The other training courses consist of programmes aimed at addressing issues from corporate administration basics to basics about capital markets and capital raising through the exchange. ZSE chair Justice Bgoni’s focus is on the growth of capital markets and promotion of an investment culture in the country and they hope to draw participants from the broad business community from the corporate world, small to medium enterprises (SMEs), and individuals willing to attain a knowledge of capital markets and how they operate

The courses will also include the newly introduced products in the name of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS) trade on ZSE.

The drive by the ZSE to educate people and companies on the opportunities the exchange provides is commendable. While many.have.bemoaned the lack of investment culture within the country ideas such as these can go a long way into breaking down some of the barriers. The ZSE itself has long sat out the conversation around investing and seeing them take a proactive approach is welcome.

Awareness alone will not tip the scales, however. With equities battling to keep step with outrageous inflation estimated at 520% year on year investing in equities is simply not attractive. In US dollar terms the index has lost approximately half its value from the multi-currency era. The low incomes in the nation that continue to be eroded are another barrier as there is very little disposable income let alone savings thereafter. Finally with the precarious nature of the Zimbabwean economy whether by default or design investors would prefer quicker returns and as such there is little patient capital in investment circles. Those with access have shown a preference to take out loans to buy foreign currency than invest in the long term.