6.7 Financial Services

Financial services are critical instruments for career and enterprise development throughout the life cycle. The Youth-Inclusive Financial Services (YFS) sector had developed services for all ages and target populations in the youth spectrum, from financial literacy and savings for children to social investments in small growth businesses for high achieving young leaders. Rural finance poses challenges for all ages, specifically the higher cost of doing business in less densely populated areas, with lower infrastructure and with less educated and lower income/asset populations. Young people face these issues more intensely, along with additional challenges of policy constraints and discrimination. At the same time, advances in technology and in rural and value chain finance methodologies offer opportunities for rural populations, including young people, to access financial services previously unavailable. Noteworthy areas include advances in savings, financial literacy, mobile money transfer, value chain finance, social investment, and financial services integrated with other services that enhance impact. Some of these are profiled here among the specific lessons listed.