Access to finance for small and medium sized enterprises in the MENA region

Author: Mattijs Aartsen, Intern in Global Engagement and Evaluation, Child & Youth Finance International

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is an incredibly economically diverse region with a significant income disparity across its member states. The MENA region consists of oil-rich economies in the Gulf as well as resource scarce countries in North Africa. The region’s economic performances over the last decades have been heavily influenced by two factors: the volatile oil price and the economic policies and structures in the separate member states. Almost 40 million people live below the poverty line, earning less than $2 per day. This number represents 11.6% of the total population of the MENA region. In addition, the MENA region suffers from the highest youth unemployment rates in the world. Youth unemployment in the MENA region has increased by 4.1% over the period 2009 – 2012, while non-youth (25+) unemployment rates have increased by 0.8% in the same period . Youth unemployment is expected to increase by another 1.1% in the next two years, exceeding 29% of the total workforce from the age 15 to 24 in 2017, or 26 million youth.

Small- and medium enterprises (SMEs) are crucial in order to reduce youth unemployment in the MENA region, as they contribute more than 30% of the job opportunities available for youth and are a key engine for economic growth. However, the lack of finance to SMEs has negatively influenced the economic diversity of the region, as only 24% of SMEs had access to finance in 2009. Given that SMEs are a significant source of employment for young people, the lack of finance to SMEs impacts not only the economy as a whole, but the participation of youth in the work force as well.

Key constraints to accessing finance for SMEs

The lack of access to finance to SMEs has two main causes: the lack of SME transparency and the weak financial infrastructure.

Banks in the MENA region lack SME transparency. Due to the lack of transparency, banks are able to turn down SME loan applications without providing any explanation. This makes it harder for SME business owners to obtain a loan for two reasons: Firstly, corruption could be involved. Bank employees can be corrupt and turn down SME loan applications to prevent competition in a specific market. Secondly, since no additional information is given regarding the rejection of a loan application, SME business owners do not know which part of the application should be improved in order to obtain a loan the next time they apply for one. In addition, the weak financial infrastructure decreases the access to finance of SMEs; different and out-dated information systems, a lack of credit information and weak creditor rights are just a few examples. This adds to the difficulties small- and medium business owners face when applying for a loan. Even though credit information and reporting systems are developing fast in some MENA countries, other countries are having a hard time keeping up, due to, among others, legal constraints. Finally, Financial institutions often resist lending out money to small and medium enterprises, while 80% of SME assets are illiquid . Illiquid assets are hard to sell off for the bank, and are therefore considered as insufficient collateral for obtaining a loan.

These constraints refrain many SMEs in the MENA region from obtaining loans, and are the main reason why SME lending is only eight per cent of banks’ total loan portfolio, as opposed to the 21 per cent that banks’ say is their goal for SME lending. With 60% less SME loans than planned, banks decrease the opportunity for small- and medium enterprises to grow.

Arab Monetary Fund

The Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) is a stakeholder of Child & Youth Finance International. The AMF is an overarching institution, supported by 22 member states across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. With a main objective of uniting all the member states, both financially and socially, the AMF is also involved in increasing financial access to SMEs.

In 2010, the AMF has joined forces with the Ministry of Finance of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation, in order to provide small businesses with access to credit. By providing direct loans to SMEs, the AMF was able to reduce the key constraints in obtaining loans, such as the lack of transparency, the weak financial infrastructure and the lack of collateral. The result was that in the period of 2010 – 2013, the total amount of outstanding loans from the AMF to SMEs had increased by 27.3% to more than $3.6 billion. With these loans SMEs in the MENA region were able to enhance productivity and competitiveness. This has contributed to an increase in SME growth, total economic growth and youth employment across the region.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

By granting SMEs access to finance in the period of 2010 – 2013, the Arab Monetary Fund has actively contributed to increased employment and enterprise growth in the region. CYFI believes that an important element in the development of youth economic citizenship is the securing of sustainable and meaningful livelihoods through both entrepreneurship and/or employment. This is also integral to achieving sustainable development goal number eight of the United Nations’ Post 2015 Development Agenda. The associated targets of this goal cover the promotion of sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, as well as full and productive employment and decent work for youth. Providing greater economic opportunities for young people in the MENA region, particularly through the development of SME sector, will greatly contribute to the reduction of youth unemployment and allow countries to meet the ambitious targets under the sustainable development goals.

This blog is the second in a series of summer blog articles related to the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and are authored by youth interns at Child & Youth Finance International. Join the discussion on social media by following @ChildFinance and using the hashtag #cyfiyouth.

Rate this blog entry:
6233 Hits

Latvians gradually change their financial habits

10 June 2015, Riga - Financial and Capital Market Commission (FCMC) together with collaboration partners have summarized annual results regarding implementation of the National Strategy for Financial Literacy in Latvia 2014-2020. The first year shows good progress in performance of almost all indicators.

In 2014, like in other developed countries, involvement of Latvian residents in using the basic financial services has been traditionally high: 94% of residents have bank accounts, moreover, more customers make use of electronic solutions: 70% of total residents already use internet banking services (in 2013 – 65%), 11 800 new endowment insurance contracts entered into, nearly 15 000 more residents joined private pension funds, as well as confidence in the financial service providers has increased reaching 50% on the average (in 2013 – 44%).

"This year we can observe several positive trends in conformity with the three defined strategic goals: tradition of planning and making savings, integrity of the financial sector and financial sustainability of households. It is obvious that residents use more diverse and modern services, more precisely define a plan for the present day, more contemplate making savings for future and act accordingly to have them. The households' borrowing/savings rate has become more proportionate in Latvia, as loans-to-deposits rate was 110/100 at the end of 2014. These all are encouraging signals. Thus the partners must continue efforts as regards improvements in the general education content, support for further education of teachers, provision of consultations and training tools on the internet for everyone." FCMC Chairman Kristaps Zakulis

In accordance with the performance of financial literacy indicators the number of households that regularly plan their budget has increased (58%), moreover, previously residents planned their household budget from memory but now they more often record the budget figures in writing or in their own established electronic system. In 2014, total household savings grew by nearly one billion euro and showed a 8.1 billion euro increase, while an increase in risk insurance premiums written by residents was higher than the planned maximum of +9.8%, and reached 134 euro per capita, and it was more than in the life insurance so far, the share of life insurance in the insurance market overall has increased up to 24%. Please visit the FCMC's website to see the performance of financial literacy strategic objectives: Financial Literacy of Latvia's Residents: 2014 at:

Implementation of the National Strategy for Financial Literacy in Latvia 2014-2020 has been carried out acting in concert with partners – FCMC, the Bank of Latvia, Ministry of Education and Science, National Centre for Education, BA School of Business and Finance, Consumer Rights Protection Centre, Association of Commercial Banks of Latvia and Latvian Insurers Association.

For Further information, please contact:
Ieva Upleja
Head of Working Group
for Implementation of National Financial Literacy Strategy
Chief Public Relations Specialist
Communications Division
Financial and Capital Market Commission
Telephone: +371 67774807; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rate this blog entry:
6175 Hits

Economic Citizenship for Conflict Affected Youth

Economic Citizenship for Conflict Affected Youth

Authors: Alberto Sostre and Shaireen Moon, Interns, Global Engagement and Evaluation, Child & Youth Finance International

The population of young people is the largest it has ever been, and one third of them live in countries affected by violent conflict. Additionally, around 75 million youth are unemployed. There is a strong likelihood that any ongoing conflict will involve the considerable participation of young people. Over the past decades, more than a hundred armed conflicts were reported, occurring primarily in developing countries.

Compounded Adversities

Countless children and youth have not only sustained physical, but also psychological and economic damage. The outbreak of war compounds the adversities that many children and youth already face in developing communities. Conflict further magnifies existing socio-economic issues and decreases available opportunities for social and economic empowerment. The youth population tends to be particularly vulnerable as they are frequently targeted for recruitment and abductions during periods of conflict. Although creating employment opportunities is essential for youth, it is not always sufficient to promote economic stability and peace. Essential lifeskills and Economic Citizenship Education (ECE), especially for the youth population, are also critical to mending communities broken by years of conflict and survivalist economics. Additionally, children and youth are at risk of being drawn into illegal activities to support themselves, and turn to conflict as a means to vent their frustration with the government or to survive in communities prone to violence and lacking tangible economic opportunities.

Youth Economic Empowerment

Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) strives to empower children and youth around the world by enhancing their financial capabilities and economic citizenship. Financial inclusion and Economic Citizenship Education (ECE) are integral themes that CYFI emphasizes in its various child and youth targeted activities. To further spread ECE, CYFI has collaborated with various national stakeholders in its network such as government authorities, education providers, NGOs/youth organizations, financial service providers, and academic institutions. ECE on its own is not as effective without the incorporation of financial inclusion, and it stresses the importance of delivering integrated educational and financial services to children and youth.

Youth Demand Improved Livelihoods

Often the primary source of discontent from youth in conflict areas stems from the demand for improved livelihoods. In 2011, various young Yeminis took to the streets in the hope of obtaining greater employment opportunities. Stability in the context of Yemen and other conflict areas lies in rejuvenating economic growth, stimulating livelihoods, and promoting improvement of social cohesion. Through the Youth Economic Empowerment Project (YEEP), the Yemini government in collaboration with UNDP, has endeavored to reduce the risk of conflict by fulfilling the employment demands raised during the uprising. Creating economic opportunities for youth not only relates to economic growth, but also to restoring and maintaining their faith in political, social, and economic structures.

Investing in Youth Projects

Mercy Corps, a partner in the CYFI network, invests in youth projects as a way to socially and economically engage young people as a means to create and secure productive livelihoods for themselves and their families. Mercy Corps has worked extensively in conflict stricken areas such as Afghanistan and Colombia. In Afghanistan, Mercy Corp has implemented the Introducing New Vocational Education and Skills Training (INVEST) program. The primary objective of INVEST is to increase youth employment in Helmand province through the offering of technical vocational education and training. The organization has also been involved in various reintegration programs for former child soldiers in Colombia. Mercy Corps has worked diligently on enhancing its five-year Protecting, Educating and Advancing Children and Youth in Colombia (PEACYC) program. PEACYC targets youth between the ages of 15 and 19 years old and consolidates educational programs, psychological support, and in-school and after-school protection measures.

Mercy Corps acknowledges that increasing youth employment alone does not decrease participation in violent conflicts. While youth compose a majority of the population in transitional and fragile states, they often do not have an outlet to influence local and national governments. As a result, governments do not create policies to meet the most pressing needs of youth. Disillusionment with the government may often make youth more vulnerable to recruitment by violent movements. It is essential that youth, along with securing greater economic opportunities, have the opportunity as well to engage with governments on their primary concerns and grievances.

Conflict will continue to affect vulnerable communities, especially children and youth, if an active approach is not pursued to uncover primary sources of discontent. Young people, particularly in developing areas, do not ordinarily have access to the necessary resources needed to recover after the initial outbreak of conflict. Economic opportunities and ECE enable young people to become more empowered economic and social citizens. Various NGOs and international organizations in the CYFI network are collaborating with local and national governments to provide greater economic and political opportunities to youth in conflict affected regions. As improvements to youth livelihoods increase, the risk of youth involvement in violent activities will gradually diminish.

This blog is the first in a series of summer blog articles related to the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and are authored by youth interns at Child & Youth Finance International. Join the discussion on social media by following @ChildFinance and using the hashtag #cyfiyouth.

Rate this blog entry:
6246 Hits

WSBI and CYFI establish partnership to promote financial inclusion and empower young people

Amsterdam 6 May 2015 – WSBI, the global voice of retail and savings banks, and Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI), the world’s largest movement dedicated to enhancing the financial capabilities of children and youth, have signed a memorandum of understanding to formalise their ongoing collaboration. The partners will work together to empower children and youth aged 8–30 years around the world, particularly those who are vulnerable and marginalized, by increasing their financial and social capabilities, developing livelihoods, and improving their access to appropriate financial services – enabling them to build their assets and invest in their own futures.

WSBI and CYFI believe that by bringing together their combined experience, global networks, and commitment they can greatly increase young people’s capabilities and inclusion, thus enhancing their social and financial empowerment.

The partners will initially combine their efforts in four areas:

  • SchoolBank – An initiative to increase understanding and use of financial services among children and young people (aged 6–25). The project will promote financial inclusion and disseminate financial education through innovative channels – such as in schools and through mobile/smartphone technology – to empower children and youth in a cost-efficient way.
  • Global Money Week – A worldwide CYFI initiative that employs fun and interactive activities to teach children and youth about money and saving, and about how to create livelihoods, gain employment, and become an entrepreneur. This celebration of money awareness takes place during the second week of March, and is organised by schools, universities, government ministries, central banks, financial institutions, members of civil society, and youth worldwide. WSBI and CYFI will work toward a more structural collaboration for GMW, starting with GMW 2016.
  • Research – WSBI and CYFI will coordinate their research at a global, regional, and national level to generate new insights and develop their joint knowledge base. The partners will use this to develop successful financial education and inclusion policies, through examining the impact of economic citizen education and financial inclusion on the capabilities and wellbeing of youth.
  • Mutual promotion – WSBI and CYFI will promote each other’s activities, events, research, and brands to grow their already extensive networks and increase their exposure – helping both partners to achieve their goals.

Chris De Noose, Managing Director WSBI, lauded the partnership as an "an exciting development that will combine WSBI members’ commitment to financial inclusion and responsible approach to business with the proven track record of CYFI in empowering and enhancing the financial capabilities of children and youth," and emphasized that it "will bring great benefits to both partners and to the young people WSBI and CYFI want to empower."

Jeroo Billimoria, Managing Director CYFI, noted that the partnership “will benefit both organizations and, more importantly, young people all around the world. Together with WSBI we will work to increase youth inclusion in the formal financial system, empower them with knowledge and skills, and create a bright future.”

WSBI – The Global Voice of Savings and Retail Banking

WSBI represents the interests of 6,000 savings and retail banks globally, with total assets of $14tn and serving one billion customers in 80 countries (as of 2013). WSBI focuses on international regulatory issues that affect the savings and retail banking industry. It supports the aims of the G20 in achieving sustainable, inclusive, and balanced growth, and job creation, whether in industrialised or less developed countries. WSBI favours an inclusive form of globalization that is just and fair, supporting international efforts to advance financial access and financial usage for everyone.

CYFI - Empowering Youth with Financial Access, Knowledge and Skills

Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) is an Amsterdam-based international NGO which aims to empower all children and youth around the world, particularly those who are vulnerable and marginalized, through an enhancement of their economic citizenship. This entails increasing their financial capability, improving their awareness of social and economic rights and their access to appropriate financial services in order to build their assets and invest in their own futures.

If you would like more information, contact Dirk Smet (WSBI) on +32 2 211 11 90 (office) or via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or Anastasia Loginova (CYFI) on +31 20 520 3900 (office) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rate this blog entry:
6928 Hits
1 Comment

Why girls matter: Integrated Programs for the Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls

Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI)'s Second CYFI Network Brief

While women’s economic empowerment has recently been given a higher priority in development agendas around the world, a significant number of countries still experience considerable gender disparities, especially in access to education and economic opportunities for women and girls. National strategies have not always reflected the importance of specifically investing in adolescent girls as an essential target group.

Restrictions on access to social and financial resources are more limited for girls than boys, particularly in adolescence which is a crucial stage in a child’s social, physical, and emotional development. This publication demonstrates how policy and program interventions can address the financial and social needs of girls during this critical life stage of life to prevent any future conditions of vulnerability. With the appropriate tools and incentives girls can stay healthy and safe and create better futures for themselves and their families.

Citing specific examples from leading civil society organizations serving adolescent girls, this publication makes a strong case for holistic financial inclusion and educational programming that builds self-confidence and economic well-being for girls from an early age.

Download the Network Brief:
Why Girls Matter? Integrated Programs for the Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls

With the appropriate tools and incentives girls can stay safe and create better futures for themselves and their families. This second CYFI Industry Note provides an overview of the existing evidence on adolescent girls and economic empowerment, outcomes of adolescent girl interventions as well as a set of policy recommendations for the successful implementation of such interventions.

Rate this blog entry:
9569 Hits

Financial Inclusion as a Statutory Duty

During Global Money Week, the Financial Inclusion Commission released an in-depth report confirming that financial inclusion is still an issue, even in the United Kingdom, a country leading the world in financial services.

The report finds that nearly two million adults in the UK do not have a bank account, up to 8.8 million people are over-indebted and 13 million people do not have enough savings to support them for a month if they experienced a 25% cut in income. Cause for these issues is a lack of financial capability among consumers, the fact that financial services are still not meeting the needs of low income consumers as there are not enough suitable savings and insurance products for consumers. Based on these findings, the FIC advises, among other things, to “place a statutory duty on the Financial Conduct Authority to promote financial inclusion as one of its core objectives” and to provide a comprehensive “model of financial skills training from primary school through to retirement, including at key life stages and events, and covering cultural as well as technical aspects of money management”.

The issue of suitable products is particularly key for young people’s financial capability. Recent research on financial capability shows that by the age of seven years, several basic concepts relating broadly to later ‘finance’ behaviors will typically have developed.“ They go on to outline those behaviors and discuss counting, conservation, the ability to plan ahead and choice architecture. They conclude that a familiar habit or the feeling of mastery in participating in “adult” activities such as going to the bank, provides sufficient motive for young children, and interventions to introduce or change young children’s financial behaviors should take advantage of such motivations. This is also based on the generally excepted premise that children learn from observation, instruction, and practice. Other research has suggested that “children develop financial and economic understanding when they have ‘‘personal economic experiences’’ as results show that children learn from observation, instruction, and practice. Moreover, Sherraden & Johnson propose that financial capability results when individuals develop financial knowledge and skills, but also gain access to financial instruments and institutions.

Awareness on these issues for young people specifically, is raised during Global Money Week, when a variety of different stakeholders such as NGOs, ministries and central banks are engaging children worldwide on topics such as financial literacy and entrepreneurship. The financial sector has also been actively involved in such campaigns, through organizing different activities, such as schools visits and workshops. Despite this, the issue of suitable financial products and low financial capability is still very current: financial inclusion is low even for adults. Financial institutions therefore should increase their efforts on the creation of true financial inclusion both for adults (and in line with the European Commission’s recommendation) and for young people (by developing and rolling out of “child-friendly” banking products). Comprehensive models for increasing financial capability, focused both on financial literacy and financial inclusion should be coordinated with national authorities and civil society, especially for children and youth (both for in-school and out-of-school programs).

In line with this model, the OECD encourages the partnership between private and other stakeholders in financial education either by providing in-kind resources and advice or dedicated financial support, or, in some cases, by becoming an implementing partner, such as the successful case in the Netherlands where the Ministry of Finance involves the private sector and civil society. However, as instructed also by the OECD, the private sector contributing to financial education should at the same time be monitored and guided in order to manage potential conflicts of interests. Dedicated standards for the development and implementation of financial education programs by the private sector should be developed. More generally, the development of financial education programs by the private sector should not involve the promotion or marketing of specific financial products or services. They therefore strongly encourage the involvement of national organizations or civil society programs.

Rate this blog entry:
11304 Hits

Invest in tomorrow. Join the global community of young entrepreneurs.


March 13-2015, Amsterdam, the Netherlands - 16 March 2015 will mark the European launch of Ye! - the global youth entrepreneurship platform. The launch will take place at the EESC in Brussels, Belgium. The event is being held under the auspices of the European Parliament as a symbol of their support for young people and youth entrepreneurs in Europe. The event also marks the penultimate day of 2015 Global Money Week, a money awareness, savings, and entrepreneurship campaign for children and youth. Several million young people in more than 100 countries worldwide have participated in fun Global Money Week activities during the 2015 campaign.

The Ye! platform links young entrepreneurs to experienced coaches and investors, useful tools and resources and other entrepreneurial youth across the world. The launch event will feature a unique pitching event in which ten promising entrepreneurs from Europe and around the world, all under the age of 30, will pitch their businesses to investors, policy makers, bankers and other financial experts. Speakers will include Mr. Philippe De Backer, MEP, European Parliament, Mr. Marko Curavic, Entrepreneurship and Social Economy, European Commission, Ms. Monica Chaves, Director of MasterCard Global Philanthropy, and Mr. Olivier Debande, European Investment Bank.

What is Ye!?

Ye! is an online and offline portal which has been developed by Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) for the next generation of leading entrepreneurs. Ye! connects young entrepreneurs from across the world and provides them with an ecosystem designed to help their business thrive. On Ye!, young entrepreneurs can share their experiences, look for country specific resources and access country entrepreneurship guides, apply for coaching and gain access to funding opportunities.

"Entrepreneurship is an on-ramp to financial inclusion and an important pathway to economic prosperity" said Monica Chaves, Director for Global Philanthropy at the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth. "Helping young entrepreneurs gain the essential tools for success is not just a noble cause. It is a necessity to ensure that the economy remains dynamic and competitive."

"Building a thriving community of young entrepreneurs would not be possible without the support of partners such as MasterCard." - Jeroo Billimoria, Managing Director, Child & Youth Finance International

Developed by a young entrepreneurial team, the portal incorporates ideas and suggestions of young entrepreneurs from different parts of the world, to make sure that Ye! is up to date with their latest needs and best accommodates them. The team will continue to involve the community for feedback so it will truly be the global community for and by young entrepreneurs. The Ye! initiative is supported by MasterCard Corporation, a world leader in card and cashless payment services.

Ye!'s ambition is to reach 10 million young entrepreneurs by 2020, leveraging the strong foundation of CYFI's global network and success.

Why Ye!?

Worldwide, 357.7 million youth were not in education, employment, or training in 2010. This number is increasing. Over the next 10 years, 600 million jobs need to be created "in order to generate sustainable growth and maintain social cohesion" (WorldBank, 2012). By stimulating and supporting the next generation of high-level entrepreneurs, Ye! empowers youth to take control of their own futures and stimulates job creation. Technology has proven to be a low cost channel for people to connect and have access to resources in a way that has been unimaginable before. Ye! leverages the power of technology and establishes a global online community for entrepreneurs.

More information about Ye! is available via

About Global Money Week

Global Money Week is an annual global financial literacy and entrepreneurship celebration. Countries from every continent participate in order to raise awareness of the importance of financial education and financial inclusion for children and youth. Global Money Week is coordinated and led by Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI), a non-profit organization based in Amsterdam. Major participating organizations include Central Banks, governmental authorities, NGOs, banking associations, financial institutions, corporations, schools, local businesses, and youth groups among others.

In 2012, 21 countries participated in Global Money Week, reaching 33,000 children. In 2013, the number of countries taking part rose by 281% to 80 countries, reaching over 1 million children with 403 organizations involved. In 2014 118 countries with 490 organizations were involved, reaching 3 million children. For many of the participating countries, Global Money Week provided a platform for multi-sectorial national stakeholders to collaborate -many for the first time - on developing financial education and inclusion initiatives and policies in their countries.

More information about Global Money Week is available via

About the Child and Youth Finance Movement

Amsterdam-based Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) leads the world's largest Movement dedicated to enhancing the financial capabilities of children and youth. Launched in April 2012, the CYF Movement has already reached over 100 countries and has more than 35 million young people. The CYF Movement has one central objective: increase the economic citizenship of children and youth. Children and youth are the future economic actors whose financial decisions will dictate the future of world economies. Providing young people with the economic and social environment to prosper and the competences (financial, social and livelihoods) to thrive has a meaningful impact on the lives of individuals and the communities in which they live.

More information about CYFI is available via

Media contact information

Robin Willing
Director of Communications
Child & Youth Finance International
+ 31 20 520 3900
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Anastasia Loginova
Events and Communication Coordinator
Child & Youth Finance International
+ 31 20 520 3900
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CYFI Social Media Channels

Social Media Hashtags:
@ChildFinance, @CYFIYouth @Ye_Community @GlobalMoneyWeek

Social Media Hashtags for the Ye! Launch Event are:
#Ye!, #entrepreneurship, #youth, #startups, #YePitchEvent
#GlobalMoneyWeek #GMW2015

Rate this blog entry:
13132 Hits

Call for Session Proposals Open: 2015 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit

On October 6-8, 2015, Making Cents International is hosting its 9th Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit in Washington, D.C. The Summit will assemble 460+ leading stakeholders from 70 countries that represent multiple perspectives across youth related sectors including economic development, education and health. As a result of this diversity, the summit will provide an opportunity to exchange knowledge, discuss experiences and expand professional networks.

The 2015 Summit theme is “Scale in Practice”, with 5 separate technical tracks: Workforce Development, Enterprise Development, Financial Inclusion, Gender, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Technology. Through technical workshops, plenary discussion, interactive breakout sessions, and networking events the summit promotes exchange of knowledge and existing practices in these tracks.

Child & Youth Finance International encourages policy makers and practitioners active in the field of youth economic development and to attend this important event as it provides a springboard for important programming that empowers youth and assists them in achieving their goals as economic citizens.

Making Cents International is now accepting proposals for speakers at the 2015 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit. Presenting at the Summit enhances participants’ ability to gain visibility, highlight their expertise, and expand their network.

The deadline to submit a proposal is Thursday, March 26, 2015.

Rate this blog entry:
10577 Hits

Youth Focus at Efma’s First Pan-African Retail Banking Summit

Efma hosted the first annual Pan-African Retail Banking Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa on February 11-12, 2015. The Summit provided a forum for delegates to network and discuss the latest trends and innovations in financial inclusion in retail banking in Africa.

The Summit had a specific financial inclusion, youth and gender focus, which was why Child & Youth Finance International was invited to attend. Representing the Child and Youth Finance Movement, CYFI’s Entrepreneurship and Inclusion Manager This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. highlighted the need fora1sx2_300_2015-02-18_Efma_RvdA.jpg banking children and youth, discussed the resources available for developing child and youth friendly banking products and the innovations in the field (SchoolBank being an example).

Efma’s Summit was attended by the Banking Association of South Africa, who are celebrating Global Money Week in March, and representatives from retail banks, technology providers and mobile operators in Africa. Roundtables and discussions were based on the following topics: Banking the Unbanked, Distribution Networks and Cultivating Innovation. For more information on the annual Pan-African Retail Banking Summit and to learn about their upcoming events please visit Efma’s website.
Rate this blog entry:
9654 Hits

Advancing Young People’s Financial Empowerment in the Middle East and North Africa

The 3rd Annual Conference of The Arab Banking Training Network was hosted by the Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies and the Egyptian Banking Institute at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. on January 28th, 2015. The meeting brought together central banks and banking institutes representatives from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).


During the conference, the Egyptian Banking Institute (EBI) presented their innovative financial education initiatives and their plans for their participation in Global Money Week 2015.

Along with EBI and Bank Al Maghrib CYFI’s Financial Inclusion Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., represented the Child & Youth Finance Movement, highlighting the importance of young people being financially included and receiving financial education if they are to develop into empowered economic citizens.

The participants in the conference including Egyptian Banking Institute, Al Maghrib, Saudi Arabia’s Banking Institute, the Palestinian Banking Institute, and Oman’s College of Banking and Financial Studies expressed their interest in advancing initiatives on financial literacy for children and youth in their countries.

Rate this blog entry:
8757 Hits

Bridging the Gap Between Youth Employment and Global Development

The United Nations Winter Youth Assembly was held in New York, USA, on February 11& 12 2015. The theme, Bridging the Gap Between Youth Employment and Global Development, catalyzed a number of interesting panel and group discussions.


Young Entrepreneurs Encouraged

The emphasis on youth creating their own entrepreneurial opportunities was a key point raised throughout the two-day session which brought together more than 500 UN youth delegates from all over the world.

“It’s time to invent jobs, not just seek jobs; to write business plans, not just CVs. It is time to create structural and permanent ways to engage,” said UN Youth Envoy, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi – a timely quote which was echoed in CYFI Youth Coordinator Kimberly De Rose’s workshop on Youth Shaping the Future of Finance as CYFI strives to battle the rising youth unemployment rates faced today by countries all over the world.

Youth Inclusion a Priority

The importance of youth voice, inclusion and empowerment was reinforced throughout the assembly, particularly in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). CYFI would like to help ensure that the voices of youth are heard in relation to the various targets related to economic citizenship, which will be finalized in September of this year.

With the aim of incorporating more young voices in the setting of the SDGs CYFI Youth Coordinator This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. facilitated a workshop that focuses specifically on the youth delegates’ perspective of the goals and targets associated with economic citizenship in order to help shape the future of finance


For more information on the UN Youth Winter Assembly please visit their website.

Rate this blog entry:
9860 Hits

Startup Europe Summit: Connecting Young Entrepreneurs

Taking place in one of Europe’s entrepreneurial hubs, the Startup Europe Summit was hosted in Berlin by the Factory on the February 12-13, 2015. Attended by some of Europe’s leading startups,a1sx2_300_2015-02-18_Startup-Europe-Summit-Berlin.jpg European policymakers, venture capitalists, corporations, and startup accelerators, the discussions focused on the future of European entrepreneurship. Big name attendees included GoEurope, Blablacar, Günther Öttinger, Andrus Ansip, Neelie Kroes of the EU Commission (and the Dutch Special Envoy for Startups), Index Ventures, Startup Bootcamp, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, and Google.

The Startup Summit provided a space for entrepreneurs and policymakers alike to learn about the evolutions and opportunities for startups and young entrepreneurs in Europe. Child & Youth Finance International’s Innovation Coordinator, Philip Harris, who is currently running Ye! – an online platform for young entrepreneurs - launch and pitching events, attended the Summit.

The main theme which emerged from the discussions was the importance of increased connection and collaboration at a European and global level. These trends are picking up on two levels:

  • Startups: greater connectivity is needed between key players in the startup industry, especially the entrepreneurs themselves and the financial providers. Modern startups are almost immediately international thanks to the global connections offered by the Internet, but there remains a lack of international communities to make these international connections easier. There are a host of online and mobile platforms perfectly suited to this: for instance through WhatsApp and Facebook or through online communities such as Ye!

  • Ecosystem: startup accelerators, incubators, bootcamps, government schemes, business model trainings set up by corporations, competitions, etc. There are a growing number of local and international programs which aim to give startups the boost they need to take their businesses to the next level; and while cross-sector collaboration is catching on, more needs to be done to connect the different types of organizations supporting youth enterprise, such as during the Startup Europe Summit. The European Union recognizes this, and the Commission in particular is increasingly active in setting up European-level programs such as Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs. This is also why the European Economic and Social Committee is hosting the Ye! European Launch & Pitching Event on March 16, 2015, in Brussels, where different stakeholders will attend to discuss greater collaboration in the future, as this will offer young entrepreneurs holistic and effective support and positively impact the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Connecting-platforms such as Ye! are a necessity for startups and young entrepreneurs around the world. The fact that Ye! is only 3 months old and has gained worldwide support for the networking, funding and resource sharing opportunities it offers young startups across the globe is testament to this.

If you would like to learn more about Ye! and take part in building a global community of youth enterprise, please visit Ye! or contact CYFI's Innovations Coordinator This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Rate this blog entry:
11655 Hits

Youth Delegates Call For Economic Component in Global Citizenship Education (GCED)

The Second UNESCO Global Forum on Global Citizenship Education (GCED) was held in Paris on January 28-30, 2015. a1sx2_300_GCED-UNESCO.jpgThe Open Working Group on the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has set GCED, now a priority topic, as an associated target of the main education goal due to its potential role in creating peace and sustainability throughout the world.

Representatives from OECD, Plan International, UNESCO, amongst others, presented on their experiences teaching and measuring the impacts of topics related to GCED, including human rights, environmental sustainability, civic activism and peace education. Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) participated as a discussant in the session Taking the Agenda Forward - pushing for a greater emphasis on the economic dimension of GCED and the inclusion of financial literacy and entrepreneurship education in the GCED learning framework.

Youth Call for Permanent Youth Participation and Economic Component

GCED should provide both information and practical tools for engaging in sustainable economic activities, promoting decent work while fostering entrepreneurship.

Youth delegate in their closing address to the GCED Forum

CYFI supports the statement given by the youth delegates at the close of the GCED Forum, calling for a more permanent role for youth participation in the development of the Post-2015 Framework for Action in GCED. We also fully support their call for GCED to “provide both information and practical tools for engaging in sustainable economic activities, promoting decent work while fostering entrepreneurship.”

The Missing GCED Component: Economic Citizenship Education

CYFI welcome’s UNESCO’s call for equipping youth with values, attitudes and skills that are necessary for forging a more peaceful, inclusive and sustainable world. CYFI believes education has a transformative power and can enable youth to take up on their role of responsible global citizens. However, CYFI strongly backs the following points:

  • While CYFI recognizes the importance of jointly addressing contemporary global challenges, CYFI feels that the economic dimension of global citizenship is not being addressed sufficiently by the current draft of the GCED framework.
  • Global issues related to youth unemployment, indebtedness and financial dependence should be explicitly mentioned by the GCED material. CYFI believes that leaving out these important challenges, and failing to recognize the impact they have on the situation of youth wellbeing, will be a disservice to the mission and purpose of GCED.
  • CYFI encourages UNESCO to recognize the importance of economic empowerment and financial responsibility of youth. CYFI promotes Economic Citizenship Education (ECE) as an effective tool to tackle these challenges and believes that providing young people with the skills needed to sustain a livelihood for themselves and their families represents a key peace and community building aspect of our work.
  • To these ends, CYFI calls for the introduction of learning outcomes in the area of livelihoods education, social entrepreneurship and ethically responsible financial and economic behavior.
Rate this blog entry:
11060 Hits

3 Top NGOs, 1 Social Entrepreneur: Jeroo Billimoria is One of a Kind

Jeroo Billimoria, Child & Youth Finance International’s Managing Director, a1sx2_250_Jeroo_OECD-CYFI-MoU_2014_web.jpg is the only social entrepreneur with three NGOs recognized among the world’s top charitable organizations according to the latest world rankings by Global Geneva. With a highly competitive application process non-government organizations ranked in Global Geneva’s Top 500 NGO list are considered to be world leaders in their field.

Jeroo established Aflatoun, Child Helpline International and Child & Youth Finance International due to her passionate belief that young people deserve to be happy, healthy and safe. Her innovative approach to a fundamental social concern – the well-being of children and youth – has earned her fellowships with Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, the Skoll Foundation and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

Congratulations Jeroo! We are so proud of you and to be a part of your social enterprise family.

Rate this blog entry:
13835 Hits

3 Children's Rights NGOS In Global Top 500

Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Three Amsterdam based NGOs; Child & Youth Finance International, Aflatoun and Child Helpline International have been recognized among the world’s top charitable organizations in the latest world rankings by Global Geneva. The results were just announced by Jean-Christophe Nothias, managing editor of Global Geneva in their 2014 Global Top 500 NGOs.

Children’s Rights and Protection as Priorities

Opportunities for children lie at the heart of all three organizations. Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI), ranked 78th, is known for its advocacy work in the area of youth economic citizenship and for its efforts in coordinating Global Money Week, which involved 3 million young people in 118 countries in 2014. In existence for only three years, the young organization has already created a network which reached out to 36 million children, making high impact despite its short life span. Supporters of Child & Youth Finance International include the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MasterCard Foundation, the players of the People’s Post Code Lottery (UK), MasterCard Corporation, and Triodos among others.

Sister organization Aflatoun, ranked 26th , teaches children and inspires them to discover their talents and put them to use, to stand up for their rights and those of their communities, to play games and to solve problems. Child Helpline International (CHI), ranked 113th , is the global network of 192 child helplines in 145 countries , which together have answered more than 140 million calls over the past decade from children in need of care and protection. Together these three organizations have helped more than half a billion young people worldwide.

“If we don’t empower young people now, their tomorrow will be the same as our today – unequal and unsustainable. We believe in children and youth’s ability to change the world.” – Jeroo Billimoria, Managing Director, Child & Youth Finance International

One social entrepreneur - three top NGOs

Child & Youth Finance International, Aflatoun and Child Helpline International were all founded by leading social entrepreneur Jeroo Billimoria, who believes that children should be empowered with the ability to change their own lives for the better and be given the right opportunities. Mrs. Billimoria is the only social entrepreneur to have three of her organizations all score top positions in the Top 500 NGO List. Together, the three Amsterdam based NGOs operate globally with a combined network of more than 300 partners, which spans over 145 countries. Other leading NGOs on the list who are partners and collaborators of Child & Youth Finance International include BRAC (#2), Save the Children (#9), World Vision (#10), Ashoka (#19) and Plan International (#45). With a highly competitive application process of over 2000 competing NGOs, non-government organizations ranked in Global Geneva’s Top 500 NGO List are considered to be world leaders in their field. Without their work, many of the world’s most crucial challenges would be ignored.

About Child and Youth Finance International

Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) aims to develop a generation that will be able to prevent future financial crises by increasing the financial education, financial access, employability, and entrepreneurship skills of children and youth. Launched in April 2012, the Child and Youth Finance Movement has already expanded to 125 countries and reached more than 36 million children. Our international and regional events result in policy changes, and are the only events in the world where children contribute to setting the global agenda.

About Founder & Executive Director Jeroo Billimoria

Jeroo Billimoria is the Founder and Managing Director of Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) Jeroo is considered among the world’s leading social entrepreneurs and is now working on her ninth entrepreneurial venture. She is a Skoll awardee, and an Ashoka and Schwab Fellow. Among her organizations are Childline India and Child Helpline International which have facilitated a global movement for protection of children and youth and is active in more than 181 countries – having responded to over 160 million calls. Her previous organization, Aflatoun, is recognized among the world’s top 50 NGOs. In a space of three short years, Aflatoun succeeded in working with global partners to provide social and financial education to over 1 million children in 84 countries. Jeroo is now heading CYFI and building a Child Finance Movement to ensure financial inclusion and Economic Citizenship Education for 100 million children and youth in 100 countries by the end of 2015.

CYFI is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands, MasterCard Foundation and players of the People's Postcode Lottery.

Media contact information

Robin Willing Director of Communications Child & Youth Finance International + 31 20 520 3900 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Anastasia Loginova Events and Communication Coordinator Child & Youth Finance International + 31 20 520 3900 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CYFI Social Media Channels Facebook Twitter
Rate this blog entry:
14668 Hits

Youth Financial Inclusion is Officially a Priority of the G20: Hurray for Turkey!

It is with great pride that we share that youthTurkey-G20-Logo.png will now be at the forefront of the advancement in global financial inclusion according to the Turkish Presidency of the G20. The Presidency newly announced their 2015 financial inclusion agenda which begins with a strong focus on youth. The Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), the inclusive platform of the G20, will respond to the need for financial inclusion and financial education for youth focusing on the following points:

  • promoting youth entrepreneurship and tackle youth unemployment,
  • supporting innovative solutions,
  • enhancing access to finance for youth,
  • collecting data and developing impact indicators for youth.

Turkey will work on youth related issues by emphasizing the importance of investing in the next generation. The G20 is committed to removing barriers for youth in access to finance, to promote financial literacy for youth, to encourage personal financial responsibility and, most importantly, to develop policies to foster youth entrepreneurship.

Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI), as an Affiliated Partner of the GPFI, will contribute in shaping the Youth focus as a crosscutting theme among the GPFI financial inclusion agenda.

CYFI, on behalf of the Child and Youth Finance Movement enthusiastically welcome these advancements toward a more inclusive financial climate for youth and thank the Turkish Presidency for making this possible.

Rate this blog entry:
9368 Hits

A First Look At The Post-2015 Agenda

In December 2014, the Secretary General of the U.N., Mr. Ban-Ki Moon, published a report titled Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet: Synthesis Report of the Secretary-General on the Post 2015 Agenda. The report puts forward 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and 169 associated targets which aim at ending a1sx2_300_UN-meeting-CYFI-Youth-and-high-level-stakeholders-7.jpgpoverty, achieving shared prosperity, protecting the planet and leaving no one behind. It stresses the importance of using the millennium development goals (MDGs) as a “springboard” into the future—a future “free from poverty and built on human rights, equality and sustainability” (p. 5).

Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) believes this report, and the presentation of the 17 SDGs, represents a major achievement in reaffirming many of the essential issues facing our world. The SDGs most relevant to the work of CYFI include 1, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 16 which, in very broad terms, cover issues of poverty, well-being, education, gender equality, economic growth and sustainable development. However, CYFI must stress that a greater emphasis on the issues facing young people, especially in regards to financial inclusion, economic citizenship education and sustainable livelihoods should be included in the associated targets.

National Strategies for Economic Citizenship for Young People

CYFI applauds the strong focus on inclusiveness and “leaving no one behind” (p. 34), and welcomes the many references to improving the global situation for children and youth in the Secretary General’s report. CYFI supports the position that “Young people will be the torch bearers of the next sustainable development agenda through 2030” (p. 3). Young people represent some of the most vulnerable members of society, and are therefore most deserving of our protection. However, they also represent our future and should thus receive the majority of attention when it comes to policy making at both the global and local level. CYFI believes that a stronger emphasis should have been made in the report on increasing the level of economic citizenship for children and youth, especially through the policies and initiatives of national and regional bodies.

Economic citizenship is achieved when an individual has the opportunity to access appropriate financial services, acquire relevant skills, secure a sustainable livelihood and participate in social, economic and political life. It plays an important role in the eradication of poverty and in facilitating inclusive, sustainable economic growth. CYFI’s National Implementation Manual provides guidance to government authorities seeking to design strategies to further advance financial inclusion and education for children and youth. As children and youth represent nearly a third of the world’s population, it is essential that national economic citizenship strategies are incorporated into the targets associated with the post-2015 agenda.

Financial Inclusion for Young People

While the report does mention the need to “stimulate and support a1sx2_300_Product-Development-Guide-2014.jpgentrepreneurship” and to “provide universal access to financial services” (p. 24), it does so, unfortunately, without specific mention of children and youth. CYFI believes strongly in financial inclusion for young people, enabling them to save and develop greater financial capability. In 2014, CYFI and the MasterCard Corporation developed a tool for financial service providers entitled Banking a New Generation: Developing Responsible Retail Banking Products for Children and Youth, a Product Development Guide. Greater access to formal financial services can help pave the way towards employment, entrepreneurship and investment opportunities, allowing young people to build assets and invest in their own futures. Children and youth often face barriers to financial inclusion that are of a different nature compared to other groups, and therefore need special attention. The UNCDF YouthStart initiative, and its promotion of sustainable financial and nonfinancial services for children and youth, is an example of a positive effort being made in this direction. In order for inclusive and sustainable economic growth (as is expressed in SDG 8) to be realized, it is vital that specific targets be included in the agenda which make formal financial services more accessible to young people.

Economic Citizenship Education

The report states that, “It is essential that young people receive relevant skills and high-quality education and life-long learning, from early childhood development to post-primary schooling, including life skills and vocational education and training, as well as science, sports and culture. Teachers must be given the means to deliver learning and knowledge in response to a safe global workplace, driven by technology” (p. 17, 18). CYFI strongly agrees with these sentiments and urges decision makers to set targets which will include Economic Citizenship Education (ECE) in its education goals (e.g. SDG 4). The ECE Learning Framework was developed by the CYFI Education Working Group, which was co-chaired by UNICEF and the OECD, and integrates elements of financial, social and livelihoods education. When ECE is combined with financial inclusion, it can lead to greater financial capability and empowerment, thus giving children and youth the opportunity to become active economic citizens. Possible synthesis of the CYFI ECE framework and UNESCO Global Citizenship Education programs could create a stronger, more extensive and influential program. CYFI suggests that the ECE framework, and its accompanying assessment tool, be incorporated into the agenda and its associated targets as part of the answer for life-long education, vocational training and life skills.

Sustainable Livelihoods

SDG 8 declares that it is necessary to “promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all” (p. 14). Regrettably, this statement does not specifically refer to children and youth, but it does establish the necessity for a stable livelihood for all. CYFI strongly believes that promoting sustainable livelihoods and stable incomes for children and youth is an essential element in eradicating poverty. This is because children and youth have the highest levels of risk and opportunity in relation to poverty: they can either rise out of it through education or entrepreneurship, or relapse into it when faced with monetary or knowledge barriers. Such barriers must be removed so that children and youth are able to fulfill their true potential and poverty can be eliminated—a goal common to CYFI and SDG 1. CYFI efforts to promote sustainable livelihoods are represented in the Ye! Network: a web portal that provides young entrepreneurs with a diverse set of resources to help their businesses thrive.

Youth Participation & Engagement

a1sx2_300_Youth-Engagement-Country-Handbook.jpgThe report specifically states that there is a need to “accommodate voices of women, [and] youth”, and to “remove obstacles to full participation by […] adolescents and youth” (p. 17). Throughout the report, and in several of the SDGs (such as SDG 8, 11, and 16), inclusiveness is mentioned as a central element of the agenda. When children and youth are given the chance to participate in their community, in areas such as finance and politics, it can lead to personal growth and transformation on a wider scale. Participation allows children and youth to increase control over their lives and learn how to make their own monetary decisions, creating an environment that better supports and improves their wellbeing. CYFI has created the Youth Engagement Country Handbook to give governmental, academic, civil society and other national stakeholders a better understanding of the financial inclusion and education initiatives available to better engage young people in their countries. Engaging youth in this manner will encourage the larger goals mentioned in SDG 1, 4, 5, 8, and 16. Associated targets within the new agenda should stress the importance of including youth participation and engagement.


While the Secretary General’s report is full of promise, and the SDGs with their associated targets represent real potential for global improvement, some issues related to children and youth remain unaddressed. Despite the report’s numerous references to the inclusion and well-being of young people, there has been a failure to sufficiently translate these sentiments into concrete goals and targets. CYFI, therefore, urges decision makers to make youth a priority, and to adopt a more aggressive approach to the youth related issues outlined above.

This article was authored by Oleksandra Pravednyk and Sean Filidis – CYFI Interns

Oleksandra is a Ukrainian student currently earning a bachelor degree at Amsterdam University College. She is currently interning at CYFI in the global education and engagement department, where she is in charge of CYFI relationships with multi and bilateral organizations.

Sean is an American business student and freelance ICT specialist living and studying in Amsterdam. He is currently interning at CYFI in both the Communications and the Global Engagement and Evaluation departments. He considers himself socially engaged and globally-minded, and hopes to continue making long-term, meaningful contributions in the non-profit sector.

Rate this blog entry:
11802 Hits

Lowering Youth Unemployment in Asia-Pacific through Youth Economic Citizenship Education

Asia-Pacific, as a region, accounts for more than half of the world’s unemployed youth – about 220 million young people. In response to the urgency of this issue, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Bank of Thailand (BOT), and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand (SEC) organized the OECD/Thailand Seminar on Financial Inclusion and Financial Literacy in Asia in Bangkok, Thailand last December 16-17, 2014.


Bringing together more than 150 international experts from 30 countries in Asia-Pacific, the seminar tackled topics related to advancing financial inclusion and financial literacy within the Asia-Pacific, with a primary focus on national strategies addressing:

  • the emerging topic of financial education’s role in supporting micro-, small-, and medium-entrepreneurs (MSME’s),
  • the complementary nature of financial education and consumer protection,
  • measuring the impact of financial education.

How Economic Citizenship Education can Boost Youth Entrepreneurship and MSMEs

Rene Cuartero, Child & Youth Finance International’s Regional Advisor for Asia and the Pacific,a1sx2_300_2014-15-01_OECD-RC.jpg stressed the key role which Economic Citizenship Education (ECE) – a curriculum which combines financial, social and livelihoods education - can play as a driver for youth entrepreneurship in the Asia-Pacific.

As young people dictate the future of the region, investing in young people’s ECE is vital to ultimately empower young people to have the capacity to make good financial decisions, find the work they want, or establish their own enterprise. By receiving ECE young people’s interest, initiative and confidence in starting their own entrepreneurial initiatives can be vastly increased – contributing to the emerging importance of MSMEs to stimulate job creation and drive overall economic growth.

The author of this article is Rene Cuartero, Regional Advisor for Asia and the Pacific at CYFI

Rene leads CYFI's efforts in Asia and the Pacific, a region he holds close to his heart. He finished his BSc Economics and BSc Financial Management studies in the Philippines, and his MSc International Management in the Netherlands. During his diplomacy courses he realized that his true passion lies and has always been in creating meaningful impact for future generations – a passion that led him to CYFI. Rene considers himself as a “Global Filipino” and is always enthusiastic to learn and grow his expertise in business, international affairs, and pop music.

Rate this blog entry:
11094 Hits

3 Ways Governments Can Help Kids and Youth Find Financial Security

Financial security is achieved when a person practices wise money management, has secure savings in a savings account, and has a stable income. When a person is financially secure they have a higher chance of exercising their economic and individual rights, of being a socially engaged member of society and making sustainable decisions, in essence, they are an economic citizen. Governments have the ability to play a powerful role in the process of creating a financially secure generation.

What is the Government’s Role in Individual Financial Security?

The role that governments and national authorities play in whether or not a child has a chance of developing into a financially secure economic citizen is crucial. This is according to the results of this year’s edition of Children, Youth and Finance – an annual publication produced by Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) documenting the global progress of financial inclusion, financial education and entrepreneurship for young people around the world.

By assessing the outreach numbers of CYFI’s partner and collaborators, CYFI has documented that civil society organizations are effectively working towards increasing the economic citizenship of children and youth with around 27 million children and youth being reached by international NGOs. Goverments, on the other hand, have reached just over 4 million children and youth through programs and initiatives. While financial institutions have reached just over 3 million young people. Collectively, the CYFI Network reaches 36 million children and youth with at least a financial product or financial education program (16 million receive a combination of education and inclusion). With the involvement of more governments the Network can expand it's reach significantly.

CYFI believes that in order to reach a substantial number – in relation to the world’s population - of children and youth with financial services and Economic Citizenship Education, a coordinated effort is needed at the country level, with government institutions taking the lead role in this effort. While civil society has led outreach efforts up to this point, it has become clear that reaching scale globally can only be done if national governments are leading with NGOs and financial institutions taking a complimentary or advisory role.

How can Governments Help Kids and Youth Have Financial Security? We've found 3 ways!


Based on the findings in this document, CYFI has compiled the following 3 recommendations for governments in order to help guarantee young people’s financial security:

  1. Give children and youth a significant position in national financial inclusion strategies, financial regulations and consumer protection policies.
  2. Intensify coordination and collaboration with stakeholders from civil society and financial institutions at the national, regional and global level.
  3. Intensify youth participation and hear youth input during the drafting and consultation phases of national initiatives.

Children, Youth and Finance: Action for Sustainable Outreach gives several examples of successful national programs are included to help set the benchmark for governments in setting national level policy and regulation. Best practices from a variety of partners and collaborators in the CYFI Network are also provided. To download the full publication, and for previous editions, please visit CYFI Publications page at

About Children, Youth and Finance

Children, Youth and Finance is an annual compilation of data gathered by Child & Youth Finance International from financial service providers, government authorities, civil society organizations, multilateral institutions and academics. The goal of Children, Youth and Finance is to provide an overview of the global progress of financial inclusion, financial education and entrepreneurship for young people.

Rate this blog entry:
13837 Hits

New Partnership to Increase Youth Savings Behavior

The World Assembly of Youth (WAY) held their 16th General Assembly in Tirana, Albania from December 7-11th, 2014. WAY is the international coordinating body of national youth councils and organizations with 120 member organizations, from every continent.

WAY & CYFI Partnership Announced

WAY announced their new partnership with CYFI during the Assembly, resulting in Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) becoming an official consultative WAY member. The partnership will extend both CYFI and WAYs networks and allow both organizations to work together to further the interest of youth around the world in regard to savings accounts, money management skills and youth leadership.

Savings Accounts and Money Management Skills

This year’s General Assembly brought together youth and youth organizations from around the world to discuss issues concerning youth empowerment and youth leadership. The WAY General Assembly is conducted once every 4 years, so CYFI’s Youth Coordinator Kim DeRose was honored to address the General Assembly on the importance of savings accounts and money management skills for children and youth.


Rate this blog entry:
7267 Hits