Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) aims to increase financial inclusion, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship among young people throughout Africa.
Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) has been a catalyst towards Financial Inclusion and Economic Citizenship Education (ECE) for children and youth in Africa since 2012. In October 2012, a declaration of commitment on ‘Reshaping the Future of Finance’ was made by representatives of Governments, ministries of education, financial regulatory authorities and Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) from 19 sub-Saharan African countries. This declaration established country and region specific road maps towards FI and ECE for children and youth. It also set a number of goals to be achieved through the implementation of country or region driven initiatives towards accessing financial education and financial services. This remarkable agreement reinvigorated our mission and set concrete targets that the CYFI Secretariat incorporated in its strategic plan for Africa.
Our impacts have been direct, including establishing national platforms for FI and ECE, providing technical support on the development and implementation of national strategies for FI and Financial Education, training and capacity development, curriculum development and assessment, institutionalizing national financial literacy week celebrations, establishing an African research platform on Youth FI and ECE, and indirect, through advocacy and monitoring, particularly of key indicators of progress in youth FI and ECE.
Advocacy and Policy
CYFI has made remarkable progress in Africa towards making children and youth a focus of national strategies and programming for financial education and/or financial inclusion through it relentless advocacy in the region. In November 2014, at the African Union Commission’s (AUC) First Specialized Technical Committee Meeting on Youth, Culture and Sport (STC-YCS-1) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, delegates adopted a CYFI recommendation for member states to invest in the financial education and inclusion for children and youth. A report submitted by the (STC-YCS-1) with the leadership of the continent also urged member states to create an enabling environment for ´child and youth friendly´ financial products.
The CYFI Secretariat continues to carry out its advocacy for child and youth financial capability through its regional stakeholder gathering and regional economic commissions such as the Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). The Secretariat has recently signed a memorandum of understand (MoU) with the COMESA Secretariat to common objectives for the achieving youth economic empowerment within the COMESA region. The areas of collaboration established under the MoU include the following:
- Policy and program for financial inclusion and economic citizenship education (ECE) for children and youth;
- Youth Entrepreneurship & Capacity Building;
- Work Readiness Program;
- Communication and advocacy on youth economic citizenship;
Training & Capacity Development
CYFI’s Product Development and Capacity Building workshops are emerging as key training platforms for financial service providers (FSPs), financial services regulators as well as other partners of CYFI. The workshops have become essential mechanism for providing practical training on child and youth financial services to staff of commercial banks and microfinance institutions (MFIs). They focus on the technicalities of developing child and youth friendly banking products, linking Economic Citizenship Education (ECE) to product portfolios for youngsters, and assessing youth financial products on their child & youth friendliness. CYFI has organized three such workshops in Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe since October 2015.