This paper provides a comprehensive and objective overview of the current landscape of economic citizenship education for children and youth. Economic citizenship education is a holistic approach to financial education, complementing it with a focus on life skills and livelihoods. The paper includes the most important theoretical insights, principles, and frameworks. In addition, it provides an overview of the key players and current initiatives focusing on economic citizenship education for children and youth. Finally, it gives insights into the focus areas for the coming years, including opportunities and challenges. The objective is to provide those interested in working on economic citizenship education for children and youth with practical starting points and suggestions for action.
Millions of children around the world face adversity and extreme deprivation, have no prospect of finding employment, and have no access to finance to build a livelihood and break the cycle of poverty. Many young people are heading households, providing the main income for their families, or working their way through school. The provision of more or complete autonomy for children and youth within the financial system (being able to control one’s own finances within certain conditions), and having the skills needed to thrive within the financial and the labor markets, could provide a significant benefit and additional means of survival for a great number of young people. Financial capability and the creation of sustainable livelihoods of children and youth is unquestionably a key focus of the agendas of national and regional authorities, civil society organizations, and financial institutions. This is in line with the current global focus on creating a savings culture, improving saving habits, and creating employment opportunities for young people.
The evidence base for the financial capabilities of youth has grown exponentially in the last few years. The existing body of evidence of family assets and savings and individual accounts is growing extensively. All in all, the results of these studies are positive, indicating improved savings behavior and educational growth as key outcomes for young people. It remains to be seen whether financial inclusion, in its many forms, may also be linked to increased confidence, outlook on the future, and employment for youth. The results of the most recent research, building on previous research conclusions summarized in Chapter 2 of this document, demonstrate positive impact of early financial inclusion and education for account opening, depositing, and savings, as well as having control of one's financial situation.