Economic citizenship is crucial for empowering youth to take control over their financial futures and break the crippling cycles of extreme poverty, debt, and social and financial exclusion. By linking financial access with financial, social and livelihoods education, it is possible for children and youth to become empowered, responsible and engaged economic citizens.
The theme for International Youth Day 2015 is Youth Civic Engagement. The United Nations System-Wide Action Plan on Youth prioritises Youth Civic Engagement as a main goal, and seeks to promote inclusive civic engagement at all levels in order to empower youth, to benefit society, and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. During his message on World Skills Day in July, United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon noted that “With the right skills, young people are exactly the force we need to drive progress across the global agenda and build more inclusive and vibrant societies”.
Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI), and members of the Child and Youth Finance Movement, fully support this statement and are dedicated to placing youth at the forefront of inclusive societies. CYFI is committed to improving the economic citizenship of youth worldwide, to ensure the reduction of poverty, improve economic and social engagement, promote the rights of youth, and help them to build a brighter future for themselves, their families, and communities.
For Managing Director and Founder of CYFI, Jeroo Billimoria, economic citizenship is key to ensuring the social and economic inclusion of youth; “Everyone needs a livelihood - we must prepare young people to be empowered citizens. Access to a bank account and education on social and financial matters are vital because they are the foundation stones for the future”.
In order to create engaged and empowered citizens, CYFI promotes comprehensive policies and practices around the themes of human rights, financial inclusion and financial behaviour change for children and youth. CYFI encourages the development of financial literacy and capabilities, enabling young people to make wise personal finance decisions suited to their social and economic needs, which fosters their personal and civic wellbeing and financial protection later in life.
This International Youth Day, CYFI is advocating for the greater Civic Engagement of Youth. We believe that the creation of a generation of empowered economic citizens around the world will break the destructive cycles of poverty and exclusion for good.