Industry worth R12-billion a year

03 September 2003
The UCT Unilever Institute is about to release the results of its latest project, research on the South African tradition of communal saving, otherwise known as stokvels, in an attempt to understand this massive industry, worth R12-billion a year.

The research findings will be presented nationwide in September.

Stokvels have been part of black South African history for at least half a century, and the research is an attempt to understand how it works and what the potential marketing opportunities are.

Director of the UCT Unilever Institute, Professor John Simpson, said: "Despite the huge amount of money being poured into stokvels each year, our findings show how, for the most part, South African marketers have not responded to, or understood, the informal banking and business sector."

He said it was possibly by default that banks and financial institutes are receiving some of this income, and the same applied to many marketers whose products were bought by stokvels.

Research showed that the stokvel was not only limited to poor or rural South Africans, but also used to generate more money among black executives.

With a stokvel for every possible need in life, it serves social, cultural and financial roles, and is merely a "savings club", that is used instead of formal banking.

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