8.6 Conclusion: Where Do We Go From Here?
The macro-level approaches discussed in this section provide new insight into both the importance of addressing youth financial inclusion from a policy level as well as how a country might achieve this through partnerships and different macro-, meso-, micro-, and client-level approaches. The product-level advancements shared in this chapter can support these more macro-level efforts as they deepen the sector’s understanding of youth financial needs and of what models work best for specific sub-segments of the youth market.
One particular challenge is that YFS still remains a specialized field, an area left to donor money, to international NGOs, and to a few of the more pioneering and innovative FSPs. Moving forward, our focus should be on how to mainstream YFS into the lexicon of the world financial system. To do this however, we must continue building upon the work that YFS experts presented this year. This includes:
- Greater focus on experimenting with youth-friendly banking policy.
Most agree that policy limitations are at the core of increasing youth access to financial services. While the policy solutions mentioned at the beginning of this chapter can help an institution immediately manage the hurdles in serving youth, genuine policy change is the key to encouraging more widespread buy-in of YFS that will encourage all banks in a given country to more actively serve younger clients.
- Continued funding for product experimentation and research.
The examples in this chapter and in the 2009 and 2010 State of the Field publications provide promising evidence behind what works in YFS. This relatively short time-span, however, continues to raise doubts as to how young people and banks can benefit from YFS in the medium and long term. Continued experimentation with YFS models will also help to generate the evidence base necessary for the policy change mentioned above.
- Experimentation with country-level approaches to youth financial inclusion.
The aforementioned focus on policy and product experimentation should feed into new large-scale projects that address YFS from a country perspective. In this way, project leaders can begin to experiment with different macro-, meso-, micro-, and client-level approaches, as discussed in section on national level approaches, in different country contexts. Stable, progressive countries look to be the most fertile ground for such approaches, such as Peru with its newly implemented public financial education curricula and macro-level commitment to youth financial inclusion. However, those countries in transition also present opportunities as leaders see that they need to make changes to develop more inclusive societies.
Donors and practitioners active in the YFS sector should be proud of what they have accomplished in the past few years. Their work has contributed to a body of knowledge that didn’t exist five years ago. Now we have a more grounded understanding of young people’s financial needs, of YFS policy limitations and solutions and of models that successfully address both the financial and social needs of young market segments. The focus areas mentioned above will help to deepen our work in these areas to ensure broader outreach to the world’s 1.8 billion young people.
- For additional information on youth-inclusive financial services, visit Making Cents International’s 2008 State of the Field in Youth Enterprise, Employment and Livelihoods Development publication, pages 71- 96; Making Cents International’s 2009 State of the Field in Youth Enterprise, Employment and Livelihoods Development publication, pages 161-190; and Making Cents International’s 2010 State of the Field in Youth Enterprise, Employment and Livelihoods Development publication, pages 51-74.