Chapter 8: Youth-Inclusive Financial Services and Capabilities

The Youth-Inclusive Financial Services (YFS) sector is still considered by many to be nascent. The 20 YFS presenters at the 2011 Conference, however, shared new breakthroughs and results that challenge this notion. While YFS chapters in Making Cents’ 2009 and 2010 State of the Field publications discussed YFS in terms of grass-roots level product experimentation, this year’s chapter takes a broader look at YFS, incorporating new macro-level approaches and policy angles that prove critical in the move to increase a young person’s access to quality financial services.

This chapter provides practical guidance to YFS practitioners on how to work within existing policy and regulatory constraints and shares insight on how to design country-level programming to address youth financial inclusion from a macro level. It also builds upon the lessons learned shared at the five previous Global Youth Economic Opportunities Conferences, identifying trends in youth financial behavior that have been observed in over 15 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In addition, the chapter provides a useful framework for designing youth friendly products that balance both client needs and meet an institution’s bottom line. Finally, various organizations highlight promising new evaluation results from YFS product experimentation in Mongolia, Uganda, Kenya and Morocco that demonstrate both the financial and social benefits to providing young people with integrated youth savings models. The key lessons learned include: