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Effective Integration of Financial Services into Economic Opportunities Programming for Youth Image

Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems

Effective Integration of Financial Services into Economic Opportunities Programming for Youth

Effective Integration of Financial Services into Economic Opportunities Programming for Youth

Summary

The United Nations Population Fund reports that there are 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24, with 89 percent of them residing in less-developed countries (2014). In Sub-Saharan Africa, minors often account for more than 50 percent of a country’s population. Moreover, by 2050, the world’s population will increase by 2 billion, an increase of 28 percent, all of whom will require access to health and education services, and eventually to jobs and self-employment opportunities. With appropriate knowledge and tools, youth can be financially empowered to access economic opportunities in a sustainable manner. Although they represent a large potential market, the integration of youth into the formal financial system is still a relatively new concept in many countries. Access is limited by a lack of financial education, restrictive government policies, inadequate financial products, and limited awareness among Financial Service Providers (FSPs) of how to include youth in their portfolios.

This brief examines ways in which financial inclusion has been effectively incorporated into youth economic opportunities programming, and its benefits used to reinforce other development goals. Examples are drawn from a range of initiatives, some of which are currently being implemented and some of which are complete. Lessons on incorporating financial inclusion into youth programming are described in the brief under two sections: (1) driving financial inclusion through integrated programming, and (2) leveraging financial inclusion to achieve broader youth development goals.


This paper is one in a series of four Promising Practices Briefs written and commissioned by the SEEP Network’s Youth and Financial Services Working Group. These documents explore innovations and address operational issues in the promotion of effective financial services for youth. Topics were selected during a series of consultations held with Working Group members in January 2015.

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