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.
Global Money Week (GMW) is an annual global celebration, initiated by Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI), with local and regional events and activities aimed at inspiring children and youth to learn about money, saving, creating livelihoods, gaining employment and becoming an entrepreneur.
We celebrate our youth and their achievements and reflect on the goals of “eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable consumption and production” for the youth of this generation. To achieve these goals, a culture of saving money consistently over time will be important.
Social isolation, economic vulnerability, and lack of access to health care and education prevent healthy transitions from childhood to adulthood, especially for vulnerable adolescent girls in developing countries. In Zambia, poor girls often are at high risk of gender-based violence, unintended pregnancy, and HIV. Many drop out of school, are unable to find employment, lack the ability to make independent decisions, and are not being reached by existing programs for young people.
This paper is part of the Child and Youth Finance International Landscape Series. Each paper in the Landscape Series looks back on the developments of recent years and looks forward to the future. This paper focuses on financial inclusion for children and youth.
A Working Future and a new era of collaboration - Taking cross-sector partnerships beyond philanthropy
Plan International's A Working Future youth economic empowerment programme has proven that partnerships between the development and corporate sectors can successfully address social issues and generate commercial value. This kind of cross-sector collaboration with its potential to effectively address social issues while creating value for both society and business will play a key role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Rural youth tend to be the least financially included: youth financial inexperience and limited assets exacerbate the basic rural finance challenges of low population density and poor infrastructure. Nonetheless, they demand financial services to manage their resources, build assets, and invest in livelihoods or education. How should the financial sector react to this situation – try to serve rural youth directly with new products and services, focus on the “near adults” in a rural finance strategy and deepen services over time, or ignore this population until the challenges of rural finance can be overcome? 136 financial inclusion practitioners came together on January 11th to discuss these issues and determine whether rural youth financial inclusion was possible, or simply a bridge too far.
Chemonics International and Making Cents International
Expanding access to finance is a challenging endeavor. Add in conflict and the obstacles can seem insurmountable. Join Making Cents International and Chemonics International on a deep dive into two programs that are currently addressing those obstacles by focusing on mobile technologies, new opportunities for youth and women, and strong local partnerships. Arelis Gomez, Chief of Party of the USAID Colombia Rural Finance Initiative, and Omaid Deqati Rahimi, Banking Capacity Team Lead of the USAID Financial Access for Investing in the Development of Afghanistan will share their respective program’s methodologies, best practices, and lessons learned for youth inclusive financial services programming when conflict and uncertainty loom.
The barriers to economic security for the growing youth population are daunting. With large numbers of youth entering the job market each year, there are insufficient formal employment opportunities, especially in poorer economies. The low quality of education and training and lack of a path to the job market put youth at a disadvantage.