REPORT: Enterprise Loans for Rural Youth in Yemen, Learning Report 2, Oct 2016
With funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and in partnership with Silatech, Making Cents International implemented the IFAD Rural Youth Economic Empowerment Program (RYEEP), a three-year grant seeking to increase employment and self-employment of young people aged 15-35 in the Near East and North Africa (NENA) countries of Egypt, Yemen, Morocco and Tunisia. The program provided capacity-building and technical assistance to local institutions to pilot models delivering youth-inclusive financial service (YFS) and non-financial service (NFS) to rural youth and to the enterprises that employ them. By the program's end, RYEEP pilot projects delivered savings or credit services to 20,543 rural youth and non-financial services to 14,252 rural youth.
As important as these quantitative outputs was the knowledge generated by five pilots. Thus, a major focus of the program was to capture and disseminate this learning to help IFAD and financial services practitioners develop more effective and scalable programs for rural youth. The program, which built upon proven and successful methods, advanced learning around five research topics:
• Adapting and Developing Effective Financial Products for Rural Youth
• Determining the Appropriate Level and Delivery System for Supportive Non-Financial Services
• Using Technology to Lower Costs and Provide Youth with Alternative Forms of Finance
• Linking Products or Institutions to Facilitate Movement from Informal to Formal Structures
• Designing Innovative Approaches for Scaling Products in Rural Environments
In Yemen, RYEEP supported Al Amal Bank to serve 4,479 rural youth with financial services and through this experience, to expand learning across the RYEEP learning topics. Despite the onset of a major conict in the country during the project in 2015 which curtailed its work, Al Amal Bank developed a rural expansion strategy, launched operations in 13 rural areas, invested in technology to reduce costs, and at the end of the project was actively serving 4,479 young borrowers of which 3,482 also opened savings accounts.