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Incentives, Subsidies, and Complementary Services to Promote Youth Financial Inclusion Image

Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems

Incentives, Subsidies, and Complementary Services to Promote Youth Financial Inclusion

Incentives, Subsidies, and Complementary Services to Promote Youth Financial Inclusion

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 explores key lessons in ensuring effective design of incentives, subsidies, and complementary services, as well as the ways and conditions in which they can foster sustainable financial inclusion and build trust with these new customers. The paper first illustrates tested strategies to attract new clients (through targeted giveaways, rewards, etc.) and ways to structure those strategies in order to retain and empower these customers (including financial education, client protection, cost-sharing, and effective marketing channels and strategies). It then shows how incentives and subsidies can fit into integrated programs (through market positioning, synergies with national agendas, engaging staff and other stakeholders, etc.).

The paper addresses the following questions:

  • How can subsidies be used effectively and made sustainable?
  • What is the best design for a phased approach that goes from subsidy to capacity building to more sustainable services?
  • How can youth programs tap into existing subsidies, such as government grants?
  • What is the best way to help young people who were receiving grants to transition to more commercially oriented financial services once the grants end?
  • How can subsidies “kick-start” services and awareness of services, and move clients toward accessing more commercial services?

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.

Explore all four Briefs now!



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