With more than half of Africa’s population under the age of 25, many experts believes the continent’s greatest resource and potential competitive advantage could lie in the hands of its youth as they enter the workforce. However, economic growth on the continent has not yet translated into opportunities for young people to earn a sustainable livelihood — representing both missed potential and a societal risk as they could become alienated and marginalized.
With approximately two billion unbanked and underbanked individuals globally, down from 2.5 billion just a few years ago (Global Findex 2011-2014), substantial progress has been made towards the goal of full financial inclusion, but is still far from being achieved. In particular, financial inclusion rates in Sub-Saharan Africa, where poor infrastructure, low population density and high costs have created significant barriers for financial service providers (FSPs) to serve low-income clients, have remained among the lowest globally.
The Global Inclusion Awards 2017, a CYFI initiative, recognise and honour those that achieve greatness and demonstrate innovation in financial, social and livelihoods education, financial inclusion, and entrepreneurial support for children and youth at the national, regional and international level.
The over-arching conference theme considers the space that microfinance could occupy, if it fully embraces new technology, and the detachment it will suffer if it does not. This conference will be a key platform to debate the trade-offs, make the case for digital innovations, and critically examine what aspects of traditional service delivery need to be preserved. Importantly, it will be done by putting the experience of real institutions under the microscope.
Rural youth in developing countries make up a large and vulnerable group. Globally, three quarters of the poor live in rural areas, and about one-half of this population is young people. This young and growing population confronts a number of challenges, including poor quality of education, lack of basic infrastructure, lack of access to or control of sufficient land for farming, and, for girls in particular, more traditional cultural norms, which severely hinder their ability to build sustainable livelihoods.
Did you know that whilst almost half of young people in sub-Saharan Africa say they save, 80% do not have a bank account? Young people aren’t a target of traditional savings groups either; a survey in 2013 found that of 103 organizations that promote savings groups in 43 countries, only 22% include youth or child-focused groups.
The African Microfinance Week (= Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance in french = SAM) is an annual conference open to all microfinance practitioners, related sectors and actors of inclusive finance. The conference is dedicated to bringing together these key players to discuss the future of microfinance, the financing of microfinance institutions and partnerships between regional and continental networks.
Freedom from Hunger, MarketShare Associates, MEDA, Plan UK
This presentation, presented under the Financial Inclusion session: Breaking Barriers to Youth Entrepreneurship through Financial Initiatives, examined various approaches to encouraging youth entrepreneurship. The session at the 2014 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit allowed participants to explore how different financial inclusion approaches targeting youth can mitigate the constraints to youth entrepreneurship and contribute to the reduction of youth unemployment.