Executive Insights

SA’s rich spend a lot less time working than their African peers – and less in prayer too

Business Insider SA
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  • Dollar millionaires in South Africa spend far, far less time working than their peers in Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, and Nigeria.
  • They also spend much less time in "restorative" activities: prayer, meditation, yoga or other spiritual pursuits.
  • Standard Bank surveyed rich people in various countries on the continent for its African Wealth Report 2020, including 65 in South Africa.
  • In SA, the rich spend their time with family or on hobbies, the survey shows – while their counterparts further north are working.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Compared to their counterparts elsewhere on the continent, South Africa's rich are positively slothful, hardly doing any work at all, a new survey suggests.

They are also much less likely to spend time on prayer, meditation, yoga or other spiritual pursuits classed as "restorative", instead spending time with family or in pursuit of various hobbies.

For its African Wealth Report 2020, Standard Bank interviewed 256 high-net-worth individuals, all worth at least $1 million, in various African countries.

See also | What SA’s rich people are into: exercise and reading yes, cars and watches not so much

65 of its respondents were in South Africa.

Asked how many hours they typically work each week, 46% of the dollar millionaires in South Africa said they do not work at all, and another 12% said the work less than 20 hours a week – less than a half day.

In the four other African countries surveyed, around half of the dollar millionaires said they work at least a full day of eight hours a week, five days a week.

In Kenya and Nigeria, not far from a third said work more than 60 hours a week, and in Mauritius and Ghana that level of work was reported by around a fifth of the respondents.

In South Africa, less than 10% said the same thing.

South Africa's rich are not engaging in what the survey terms "restorative time" either; prayer, meditation, yoga or other spiritual pursuits. 39% of respondents in SA said they spend no time at all on such activity, and another 56% said they spend up to five hours.

In Nigeria not a single respondent said they spend no time on such restorative activity, and for all countries combined the comparative number was 16% of people who do not pray or meditate.

The South African millionaires spent and inordinate amount of their leisure time with family, the survey suggests, at 65% of respondents saying they will do so for more than 10 hours a week, compared with the all-countries average of 47%. 

South Africans also spent much more time on their hobbies, with a fifth of respondents saying that takes up at least 10 hours a week, compared to a multi-country average of 7% – with zero of the respondents in Kenya putting that kind of time into their hobbies.

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