Youth everywhere face challenges as they transition into adulthood, and for youth in developing countries, these challenges can be even more intense. Access to financial services can help them smooth this transition and yet youth are often excluded from financial services, either by policy or prejudice. As youth mature and become heads of their households, they will need access to and a working knowledge of financial services to enable them to be productive members of their societies.
Evaluating progress toward adoption of affordable formal financial services matters because financial inclusion is a key ingredient in promoting household well-being and broader economic development.1 The first annual FDIP report and scorecard, published in August 2015, addressed fundamental questions regarding ways to advance inclusive finance, including 1) Do country commitments make a difference in progress toward financial inclusion? 2) To what extent do mobile and other digital technologies advance financial inclusion? and 3) What legal, policy, and regulatory approaches promote financial inclusion?
Chemonics International and Making Cents International
Expanding access to finance is a challenging endeavor. Add in conflict and the obstacles can seem insurmountable. Join Making Cents International and Chemonics International on a deep dive into two programs that are currently addressing those obstacles by focusing on mobile technologies, new opportunities for youth and women, and strong local partnerships. Arelis Gomez, Chief of Party of the USAID Colombia Rural Finance Initiative, and Omaid Deqati Rahimi, Banking Capacity Team Lead of the USAID Financial Access for Investing in the Development of Afghanistan will share their respective program’s methodologies, best practices, and lessons learned for youth inclusive financial services programming when conflict and uncertainty loom.
Under the umbrella of the DREAMS Initiative of the US Government’s PEPFAR support in Kenya, ASPIRES is organizing short-term technical assistance for experts in the delivery of training and follow-on support in two areas: financial capabilities and entrepreneurship. The Training of Trainers for each topic will be delivered to 10 local implementing partners who are serving the DREAMS target population of adolescent girls and young women ages 10-24 who are HIV-vulnerable in Nairobi and Kisumu (Western) province.
A young person’s first job is a critical developmental step toward adulthood. A first job provides an opportunity for youth to engage with the financial system and also infuses earnings into the local economy. In cities across the nation, youth employment programs are the single most significant way that hundreds of thousands of teens are introduced to the working world each year. With municipal ingenuity as well as private sector and philanthropic support, some city leaders and partners have developed innovative, locally-financed summer employment programs in recent years. Related year-round programs complement summer efforts, typically for smaller numbers of youth.
Did you know that whilst almost half of young people in sub-Saharan Africa say they save, 80% do not have a bank account? Young people aren’t a target of traditional savings groups either; a survey in 2013 found that of 103 organizations that promote savings groups in 43 countries, only 22% include youth or child-focused groups.
Banking on Change is currently one of the largest programmes working with youth savings groups (YSGs). In Phase 1 of the programme, from 2009 to 2012, the focus was on savings groups more broadly; in Phase 2 we have focused on YSGs in Egypt, Ghana, India, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Between June 2013 and December 2015 the programme established 11,725 YSGs with over 245,000 members, of whom 132,000 are under 25 and two-thirds are women.
Rural youth in developing countries make up a large and vulnerable group. Globally, three quarters of the poor live in rural areas, and about one-half of this population is young people. This young and growing population confronts a number of challenges, including poor quality of education, lack of basic infrastructure, lack of access to or control of sufficient land for farming, and, for girls in particular, more traditional cultural norms, which severely hinder their ability to build sustainable livelihoods.
A second year student from Salford City College’s Future Skills has started building a career, at one of the most well-known brands in the country. Eighteen-year-old Zubair Rana from Cheetham Hill has secured a part-time job at ITV’s Media City UK office, after completing a six-week summer placement there as part of his college course.