For a while now I've been impressed by the development of the Cape Verdean tech & start-up scene. I was interested in hearing a few stories, and wanted to understand both the motivation and challenges. In this series of interviews I'm speaking to young (start-up) entrepreneurs in Cape Verde. Despite challenging circumstances they are able to discover solutions and bring these to the market. Products that can create a better society. This is part 5:
One of the things I thought about during the lockdown is the difficult situation a lot of Cape Verdean people find themselves in. It's been especially hard for those with low wages and/or irregular income. There are no financial services for them. Many have no bankaccount, and don't use any financial tricks or know how to do financial planning. The incomes don't allow this in many cases, because big groups of people can barely get around with what they earn working as a day laborer.
It's one of the biggest problems we face in the country. On one hand there are not enough jobs and low incomes, on the other hand a lack of knowledge and awareness on how to slowly change the situation. Financial education is something that is not talked about much in the country. A good reason for me to talk to Jaqueline, who is very passionate when it comes to this subject.
Jaqueline returned to Cape Verde after studying in Brazil, just before the Corona crisis. She had little to do at home, so she started thinking about posting financial tips online. She hesitated at first, but decided to try it out after people convinced her it would be a good idea.
“It's something I had not seen before in Cape Verde. That was one of the reasons why I really wanted to do this. Financial planning is so crucial. A lot of people can benefit from financial education, and yet it's something that we don't talk much about.”
"We need to talk about financial education more. - Jaqueline Lopes Lima
What tips do you have for people who have a low income, and can't save money because of that?
“People who really struggle to get by should no what their rights are. It's important that they get informed down at City Hall to know what option they have, and what institutions they can turn to for help.”
“For other people with a low income, financial planning is even more important. I always advise people to go to the larger supermarkets for their groceries, and if possible, to do as much shopping as they can at the start of the month.”
“A lot of times you'll see people buy at the neighborhood shop, but that means they end up spending more money. Also, when you do your grocery shopping weekly, you probably buy more things that you don't really need. For that reason, I always advise clients to look at other options.”
What are your plans for the future?
“I would really like to create an E-book, with the best financial tips I know. I also would love to open my own office, have my own company. And although I just returned from Brazil a few months ago, I've been thinking about doing my masters abroad.”
“I just want to be able to help much more people with the knowledge I have. Not everything I teach comes from what I learned in college. I actually have been learning a lot from other people I follow online. I enjoy following accounts that share valuable information, and it's fun to share that content with my own followers in my own way.”
“I see this job as my little contribution to a better society. I think we should never stop learning, and we need to keep developing our skills. It's okay to complain when things are difficult, but it will not change your situation. You need to get up, continue and keep getting better if you want to change your situation.”
What is the message you want to spread?
“My financial education and planning is for the people who want to get better at it. Of course anyone should be able to spend their money exactly the way they want, although I don't think this is true for people in a difficult situation. They need to be open to changing their spending habits and more."
“We live in a time where everyone seems to be greedy. People want more and more, but you get used to having money really fast. So what do you do next? Sure, we all need money to live and pay for education, housing and food. But I want people to understand that money only brings short-term happiness.”
“Personally I believe that money should serve a purpose.”