Zimbabwe takes steps forward with youth financial inclusion

Much of the news coming out of Zimbabwe in recent years has focused on the challenging financial and economic environment facing the country. A recent legacy of runaway inflation, rising trade deficits and poor financial liquidity has severely hampered economic growth and deflated public confidence in the formal financial sector. Despite these setbacks, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) released an ambitious National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) in 2016, aiming to extend financial services to 90% of the population by 2020. The NFIS makes explicit reference to children and youth as a key target group, emphasizing the importance of building financial capability of the next generation of Zimbabweans.

In an effort to accelerate this aspect of the NFIS, RBZ partnered with CYFI and the People's Own Savings Bank (POSB) to carry out a two-day Product Development Workshop and National Stakeholder Gathering in Harare on 19-20 October. With participation from Aflatoun International, FinMark Trust and the World Bank Group, the workshop covered a variety of topics relevant to the provision of financial services and financial education to children and youth in Zimbabwe. Sessions included those on the impacts of financial inclusion and education on young people, the business case for youth financial services, the financial needs and wants of children and youth, regulatory solutions to increase youth financial inclusion and curriculum integration models for social and financial education.Participants also had the opportunity to learn from the experiences of other government authorities and financial literacy champions in the country, with guest speakers from the Bank of Zambia, the Reserve Bank of Malawi and the Banking Association of South Africa.

The workshop benefited from having such a diverse set of relevant stakeholders in attendance, all interested and engaged in various aspects of the NFIS. This included representatives from the RBZ, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Education, the Zimbabwean Youth Council, commercial banks, microfinance institutions, academics and non-government organizations. The conference concluded with the participants breaking into thematic groups to further discuss challenges and solutions for the regulatory environment, financial service provision and the expansion of quality financial education throughout the country. Draft action plans were outlined, indicating the resources needed and roles and responsibilities required to carry out the desired initiatives.

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Child-friendly Product Development Workshop hosted in Malawi

​ CYFI, in cooperation with the hosting partner the Reserve Bank of Malawi, organized a Product Development Workshop for financial institutions in Malawi, that took place on 12th and 13th April in Blantyre, Malawi. 

The workshop had attendance and delegates from the major commercial banks, as well as the deposit-taking microfinance institution. In addition, the workshop was joined by officials from the Reserve Bank of Malawi who provided input and feedback from the viewpoint of the financial sector regulator. The workshop was moderated by CYFI experts, and covered topics such as the importance of financial inclusion for young people, needs and wants of youth, product design and marketing channels, and other aspects related to the development of savings and current accounts for children and youth in Malawi.

The workshop provided a platform to start discussions on the importance of financial education and financial inclusion of young people in Malawi, and to guide the local financial institutions in the process of developing child and youth-friendly banking products. The two-day workshop served as a space to exchange best practices and experiences, and present case studies that were achieved across the world, and especially within the Africa and SADC regions. 

At the end of the workshop, one of the participants stated "we recommend a shift on the legal perspective, and our institution can be one of the key drivers of the policy change", and another stated "if we can support and take youth seriously, the sky is the limit". The participants' evaluation of the workshop received the score of 4.5 and above on many topics, such as the presentation of topics, the usefulness of the presentations as future reference, and knowledgeability and responsiveness of the trainers.

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Product development workshop in Ivory Coast

CYFI facilitated a product development workshop in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on the 23rd, 24th and 25th of November. This workshop had been organized in partnership with the Program of Financial Education of the Ministry of National Education. 

The Program of Financial Education (PFE) of the Ministry of National Education in Ivory Coast aims at enhancing the financial knowledge of the entire educational community hence, in particular focusing on children and youth in Ivory Coast. The program, established in 2013 with the intention of tackling the challenge of over indebtedness of teacher that had negative consequences on the teaching quality, has already reached 24.000 adults and 60.000 children. 

The PFE is also CYFI's partner in the country and leader of the Global Money Week campaign in the country. During the last edition of the Global Money Week, more than 15 events were organized at national level and around 21,700 children were reached. However, Ivory Coast is one of the countries of the region where financial inclusion of youth is amongst the lowest. In an attempt to  raise awareness of this matter and engage the private sector towards oriented action, the PFE organized the Product Development Workshop. The workshop aimed at making the case of the importance of youth financial inclusion and guide the local banks and financial institutions in the process of developing child and youth-friendly banking products.

A part of strengthening the collaboration between different key institutions in the country in financial education and inclusion, the workshop laid the ground for the implementation of the SchoolBank project in the country. It is expected that the project implementation will start in the first quarter of the year, in collaboration with local schools, the Ministry of Education, the Plan for Financial Education and GTBank.

For more details, information regarding the workshop, please follow this link to the report (in French).

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3 events - 1 platform for young entrepreneurs!

CYFI initiative, Ye! community, has been busy working with young entrepreneurs all over the world! With events in Ukraine, Kenya, and India, the sky's the limit for the fastest growing online platform for young entrepreneurs!

Ukraine Ye! Boost Training & Hackathon, sponsored by the Development Facility of the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE DF), took place in Kiev over the course of three weeks.Over 60 young entrepreneurs attended lectures and practical trainings on business-creation. 20 chosen entrepreneurs took part in a weekend Hackathon in which they teamed up with some developers in order to produce the first prototypes of their ideas.

The event ended on 31st October with a pitching event where twelve business ideas were judged by an expert panel. Andrew Pavlovsky was named Ye! Entrepreneur Ukraine for his idea ‘Department Action’, a start up dedicated to create collaborations between investigative journalists and lawyers to fight corruption.

The ‘Road to Nairobi 2016 Multi-stakeholders forum’ was run in partnership with Building Bridges andtook place on 26th October in Nairobi, Kenya, at which over than 100 young entrepreneurs were present. The theme was ‘Youth Entrepreneurship as tool for economic development and youth empowerment in Kenya’.

The event featured a training for young entrepreneurs on investor-readiness. The event also provided a platform for young entrepreneurs to dialogue with key national stakeholder. Notable participants included Ms. Sicily Kariuki - Minister of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs and Mr. Frank Makken, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Kenya.

On 26th October 2016, Ye! Community ran its first initiative in India: The Ye! Startup Pitching Event & Award Ceremony.

The aim was to celebrate the work and achievements of inspiring young Indian entrepreneurs. 20 of them attended the event, while 14 start-ups pitched their projects to an expert committee, after a first video selection.

Vennela Krishna won the competition with her Law School 101 startup, receiving the first Ye! Youth Entrepreneur Award for India and an invitation for the Global Inclusion Awards 2016 held in Stockholm.

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Advancing Economic Citizenship for Youth alongside Trade and Development

Financial inclusion, financial capability and sustainable livelihoods are essential components of full economic citizenship, contributing to economic development within and between nations. CYFI works with key UN agencies, such as UNCTAD and UNCDF, to promote full economic citizenship for children and youth through government agencies, private enterprise and civil society.

CYFI recently took part in the 14th UNCTAD Conference held July 17-22nd in Nairobi, Kenya. This was to ensure that full economic citizenship for children and youth, particularly through integrated financial and educational services, along with support to young entrepreneurs, were addressed during the Conference’s World Invest Forum and Youth Forum.

CYFI also presented on a Youth Forum panel chaired by UNCDF on the challenges and opportunities of youth financial services and youth friendly banking regulation. Interest was generated for CYFI’s model of SchoolBanking with a number of country opportunities emerging for CYFI to further integrated financial and educational services through a collaborative efforts between government authorities, financial institutions and education providers.

Supporting Young Entrepreneurs

As part of the Youth Forum, CYFI and UNCTAD co-hosted a workshop and pitching event for young entrepreneurs in the Empretec and Ye! Programs. This allowed may Empretec and Ye! Members to gain valuable experience in presenting their business plans to potential investors and communicating effectively about the value proposition of their enterprise.

CYFI’s Ye! Platform has been active in Kenya, establishing a local Ye! Ambassador and increasing the ranks of local Ye! members with exciting and innovative business ventures. CYFI will build on the momentum generated through this event to further expand the Ye! Community in Kenya while providing greater support to its members through training, information and professional networking.

UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Youth, Ahmed Alhendawi, presented Ye! Member Ifrah Mohammed with the Ye! Youth Entrepreneurship Award for Kenya. CYFI also used the event to kickstart the application process for the Global Youth Entrepreneur Award, which is now open to young entrepreneurs throughout the global Ye Community.

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YES Cameroon launches financial education training for 6000 micro-entrepreneurs

6000 microfinance entrepreneurs are expected to benefit from a financial literacy project launched on June 14, 2016 by the Youth Employment Services (YES) Cameroon and the Association of Entrepreneurs in Cameroon (AEC). The project beneficiaries will be selected from all 10 regions of Cameroon and will undergo a five-day intensive training on topics including, budgeting, debt management, savings, negotiations, insurance and micro-credit. They will also receive training on effective entrepreneurship.

In a press release issued by YES Cameroon, Mr. Gilbert Ewehmeh, the Project Director noted that the project, which is the first of its kind in Cameroon and the Central Africa sub-region, is aimed at building the capacity of entrepreneurs in the country and to also boost the business sector. Implementing partners for this initiative will include Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI), the International Labour Office (ILO), SAGE Cameroon and the Anzisha Prize.

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CYFI SchoolBank workshop success in Zimbabwe

On 23 and 24 May Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI), in collaboration with the People’s Own Savings Bank (POSB) Zimbabwe, organized a SchoolBank Workshop in Harare, Zimbabwe. The two-day event was attended 25 participants, including branch managers of POSB Zimbabwe and employees of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Education. It was aimed at providing the participating institutions, who will be engaged in a SchoolBank Zimbabwe pilot, an understanding of the principles and operational modules for a SchoolBank project.

The workshop content was facilitate by the CYFI Secretariat and consisted of six modules and three practical sessions. The models were interspersed with practical examples from expert speakers from Junior Achievement Zimbabwe and Oratec Uganda. There following are the models and practical sessions:


    1. The business case for children and youth financial services
    2. SchoolBank: An integrated approach to financial capability
    3. Product development strategies for a SchoolBank project
    4. Stakeholder Management and Roles in SchoolBank implementation
    5. Funding, Monitoring and Evaluating a SchoolBank project

Practical sessions

    1. Value proposition for children and youth financial services
    2. Localizing SchoolBank model
    3. Developing a road map for SchoolBank Zimbabwe
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Developing child and youth-friendly financial services in Zambia

Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) in collaboration with the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) organised a two-day product development workshop on May 9 and 10, 2016, at Protea Hotel Lusaka. The objective of the workshop was to train Zambia´s financial services providers (FSPs) on how to develop innovative, appropriate, and cost effective savings accounts for children and youth. It also aimed at training participants on how to link product portfolios for children and youth to financial education.

Twenty-six participants, including representatives from 12 commercial banks, attended this workshop. There were also participants from the banking and insurers associations of Zambia, the Bank of Zambia, and FINCA Zambia. The resource persons were from the CYFI Secretariat, PostBank Kenya and the Private Education Development Network (PEDN) Uganda.

The workshop was designed to foster in-class interaction between the resource persons and participants and among the participants themselves. This ensured collaborative learning experience and greater participant satisfaction. The workshop covered seven theoretical topic and provide practical examples from PostBank Kenya and PEDN Uganda. A key component of the workshop was group exercises. The topics threated were the following:


    1. Financial inclusion and education landscape of Zambia
    2. Why child and youth friendly products are important.
    3. The business case for child and youth friendly products.
    4. What makes a ´child and youth friendly´ product
    5. How to develop child and youth friendly products.
    6. Marketing child and youth friendly products
    7. Combing access with education: SchoolBank

A key component of the training was the break-outs and group exercise that gave participants hand-on experience on the product development process, and new perspective on the value proposition for youth financial services. The break-out/group sessions were organised around the following themes:

    1. Motivation for child and youth friendly product
    2. Value proposition towards child and youth financial services.
    3. Product development and assessment
    4. Marketing-communication strategy
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Making Financial, Social and Entrepreneurship Education Stick in Southern Africa

South Africa has taken great strides forward in building the financial capability of its young generations through the StarSaver™ Programme. On April 7th and 8th, the South African Banking Association South Africa, together with the National Department of Basic Education and Aflatoun International, held a regional seminar to promote dialogue and strategies on how to align social education, financial literacy and entrepreneurship education in schools across the country while aligning this initiative with the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Education 2030 and various National Development Plans (NDPs) in Southern Africa.

The seminar was attended by government authorities, education providers and financial institutions each with a stake in delivering effective educational programming that combines financial, social and entrepreneurship elements. Curriculum integration, quality assurance, technologically enhanced learning and teacher training were all important topics of discussion.

CYFI’s role in the seminar was to present the value to integrating financial access with the educational dimension of the StarSaver™ Programme. Through a variety of SchoolBanking models, the financial institutions in attendance were able to explore how they could partner with StarSaver schools, offering students a platform for both learning and financial inclusion. CYFI’s Managing Director, Jeroo Billimoria, provided a video address on financial education and economic citizenship, pointing out that the development of foundational entrepreneurial and life skills were key for any society to move forward to a better future. CYFI is excited to see the tremendous progress made in South Africa on advancing financial education for young people. We are confident that financial institutions, government authorities and education providers in South African and throughout the region will continue to find innovative ways to expand the reach of quality education and Child and Youth Friendly banking to young people in Southern Africa.

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Product Development Workshop great success for Nigerian banks

Together with the Central Bank of Nigeria and LYNX, Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) successfully organized a Product Development and Capacity Building Workshop for Financial Institutions in Nigeria.

In an interactive setting, Nigerian banks, international guest speakers and CYFI experts worked together on determining how and why banks should invest in child friendly banking products and financial education. One of the participating banks stated that “Children and youth are a serious opportunity, and we need to make sure that we combine access with education”.

Another unique feature of the workshop was the involvement of the Central Bank of Nigeria, providing insights into the regulatory framework, whilst also facilitating discussion with the Nigerian financial institutions, to see how they can reach the youth segment and therefore improve the economic future of the country.

One bank summarized the enthusiasm participants felt during the workshop, “Investing in children is not just important for them, but also for the financial institution, the financial system and the nation”. For CYFI it was a great opportunity to meet with financial institutions in Nigeria, share examples of best practice, and to support financial institutions in their mission to financial include Nigerian youth.

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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.
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Policy Pledge for a Generation of Financially Capable Young People

Today is the last day of the 3rd Annual Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) Regional Meeting for Africa. Held at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the meeting brought together Africa’s finest policy makers, educators, research and academic institutions, financial service providers, as well as representatives from various government ministries. The main objective of the meeting is to develop a common African position on the advancement of a unified financial education and inclusion plan of action for children and youth across the continent.

During a variety of workshops and plenary sessions it was concluded that a great deal of innovation and action is needed to create an economically active and responsible youth population by addressing the various barriers to youth financial inclusion in Africa. The development and prosperity throughout Africa must be framed around the large, and very dynamic, youth population. The growing youth population is a unique resource for several African countries; youth must be given the attention they deserve as they are essential for social and economic stability and growth.

Integrated African Policy for Child and Youth Financial Inclusion

At the close of the meeting a policy paper pledging for an integrated African Policy for Child and Youth Financial Inclusion to be part of Agenda 2063 was announced. This policy paper details the recommendations needed for “a global strategy to optimize use of Africa’s resources for the benefit of all Africans” for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.

African leaders must develop and pursue national financial programs and strategies for children and youth with the objectives of ensuring that every child and youth in Africa has access to safe financial services, quality Economic Citizenship Education, and the opportunity to attain a sustainable livelihood.

Providing young people with financial services, which include an educational component, enhances a young person’s ability to make their own economic decisions and escape the cycle of poverty. Such access to appropriate financial services allows young people in increase their awareness of their social and economic rights and their ability to build assets and invest in their own future.

CYFI 3rd Annual Regional Meeting for Africa Key Recommendations

Outlined below are the 4 main recommendations highlighted throughout the meeting. Please read the Recommendations and Action Points document for a full overview of the concrete and necessary action plans that African policymakers should lead and implement at national level while engaging the various stakeholders and practitioners, and, of course, children and youth.

By focusing on and taking the necessary steps to turn these recommendations into a reality, the region at large will benefit from such interventions, as a new generation of financially capable young people grows up to be responsible economic citizens.

Key Recommendations for every African State/Country

  1. To celebrate nationally and integrate Global Money Week in the public national activities’ calendar
  2. Global Money Week (GMW) is a worldwide celebration intended to empower the next generation of financial actors to be confident, responsible and skilled economic citizens. During this week various worldwide activities will be held to engage children, youth and their communities to learn about how to save, gaining employment, and creating livelihoods.

    The participation of each African country brings the world one step closer to ensuring that every child will have access to financial services, basic financial awareness, a reliable source of income and the will to save. In order for children and youth to have a safe tomorrow, they should begin to save today.

  3. To integrate Economic Citizenship Education into the national curricula starting from primary school; and non-formal economic citizenship education should be provided for out-of-school children and youth
  4. In the CYFI Global Youth Survey, nearly 85% of respondents http://childfinanceinternational.org/resources/publications/2014-cyfi-global-youth-survey.pdf felt Economic Citizenship Education (ECE) should be learned in school. This profound percentage should be taken forward to ensure that ECE is taken on in national curricula, and is not left as a “family item”. Children and youth must be given a standard learning format to ensure that they are provided with all of the necessary ECE knowledge to make wise financial decisions and act as economic citizens.

    Furthermore, empowering all children and youth, both in and out-of-school, must also be a priority for national policymakers. According to UNESCO in 2010, sub-Saharan Africa was the second region counting the highest number of out-of-school lower secondary school children (22 million). Research has shown that depriving children of opportunities at a young age, such as education, have been associated with a well-catalogued variety of negative outcomes, including social and mental well-being. Financial inclusion towards social and individual empowerment, need to be inclusive and be devoted to all children and youth.

  5. To ensure that all children and youth, starting from primary school, have access to appropriate child and youth-friendly banking products and services such as savings accounts.
  6. Africa has the lowest saving-account penetration rate for youth in the world, equal to 12% http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/documents/youth/fact-sheets/youth-financial-inclusion.pdf. Cultural barriers, legal restrictions, inadequate child and youth friendly financial services, long distance to access points, low education, unemployment, high transaction costs and negative stereotypes about youth are among the main challenges for youth being financially included in Africa. Legal and regulatory barriers create also significant obstacles for the youth to access to financial services suiting their needs. Such barriers impact the prosperity of policies and practices for the economic and financial empowerment of young Africans.

  7. To support young entrepreneurs in Africa by providing connections, education and access to financial resources for developing their enterprises.
  8. Various research and studies have shown that unemployed persons – particularly young persons – are unhappier, more likely to experience a range of health issues, and face difficulties in integrating back into the labor market place . While the youth unemployment rate in Africa hovers around 20%, data collected from the 2014 CYFI Global Youth Survey points out that Africa is undoubtedly the leading region for numbers of young entrepreneurs.

    The promotion of youth entrepreneurship simultaneously supports the creation of job opportunities, economic growth and development within local, regional and global communities.

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Ethiopian Airlines & African Union Commission Flying the CYF Movement Flag High!

African Union Commission (AUC) to Recommend Child and Youth Friendly Financial Policies

The 1st African Union Commission (AUC) Specialized Technical Committee Meeting on Youth, Culture and Sport was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from October 27 to November 1, 2014. Akwasi Osei, Child & Youth Finance International’s Regional Adviser for Africa spoke at a youth-focused breakout session where he presented a case for integrated African policy for financial education and financial inclusion for children and youth. a1sx2_AUC Delegates_Africa-Union.jpgThe AUC adopted a recommendation for member states to invest in financial education and inclusion for children and youth, which includes child and youth friendly financial product development.

Ethiopian Airlines (ET) - Official Carrier for CYFI's 3rd Regional Meeting for Africa

Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) is please to recognize Ethiopian Airlines (ET) as the Official Carrier for 3rd CYFI Regional Meeting for Africa, to be held at African Union Conference Center from December 04 - 05, 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

As part of this collaboration between CYFI and Ethiopian Airlines, ET is offering a 12% discount on Business class and 10% discount on Economy class fares for delegates traveling from its Africa and Europe online cities to Addis Ababa with Ethiopian Airlines.

Delegates are invited to make travel arrangements to the event by contacting local Ethiopian Airlines sales office. To find out your nearest ET office, please email Ahmed Abdulhadi at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your departure city.

Kindly take note of the following sales and travel conditions for the event:

  • Delegates may purchase their flight ticket until Thursday, December 04, 2014.
  • Delegates are expected/ allowed to travel to Addis Ababa from Friday, November 21 up to December 05, 2014.
  • Delegates are allowed to return to their original destination or travel to their intended destination from Thursday, December 04 up to 18, 2014.
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Webinar: How Can Microfinance Be More Inclusive To Children and Youth?

Join us on Wednesday, March 12 at 2:00 - 3:00 PM CET, as Child & Youth Finance International will be co-hosting a webinar with the Microcredit Summit Campaign, this webinar explores how microfinance can be more inclusive to children and youth. A small but increasing number of MFIs offer financial and non-financial services to children and youth. They are building the next generation’s capability to save, build assets, and, if needed, take (micro)loans to support their enterprises.

The webinar features Mr. Walid Ahmed from BRAC Tanzania, who will present on BRAC Tanzania’s “Empowerment and Livelihoods for Adolescents Program” which works to socially and financially empower youth (age 11-19), mostly girls, through a combination of life skills education, livelihoods training, financial literacy, credit support, club activities, and community participation. The program aims to build girls’ confidence, instill a sense of self-worth, encourage positive behavior changes, and improve their quality of life. Mr. Ahmed will discuss the main program features and some key successes, lessons learned and challenges and opportunities ahead.

Taking from the example of BRAC, some key challenges around child and youth inclusiveness of microfinance will be discussed with Mr. Larry Reed, Director of the Microcredit Summit Campaign. As the Campaign focuses on ending extreme poverty, what is the role of financially including children and youth? MFIs addressing youth unemployment and poverty, and children’s financial illiteracy also struggle with financial sustainability, the balance between financial and non-financial services, and capacity development of their staff. Notwithstanding these challenges, the examples of BRAC and others show there are powerful ways for MFIs to create sustainable change. Mr. Reed will also talk about the shared commitments that the Campaign and CYFI have to make microfinance more child and youth inclusive. The Microcredit Summit Campaign and CYFI are partners with a commitment to lifting 100 million households out of extreme poverty and providing 100 million children and youth in 100 countries with a savings accounts and financial education.

This webinar is part of Global Money Week (GMW), the annual global awareness week (10-17 March 2014) organized by CYFI and its partners and stakeholders. GMW creates awareness with children, youth, parents, and teachers around economic citizenship education and financial inclusion for children and youth.

Registration Details

Topic: How Can Microfinance Be More Inclusive To Children and Youth?

Date: Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Time: 2:00 - 3:00 PM CET

Registration: Click here to login

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Ummeli – Youth Workforce Development Mobile Platform

Two years since it launched, Ummeli is about to reach 250 000 users, turning it into the leading workforce development mobile platform in Africa.

The Nguni word for mediator, Ummeli began as a mobile community for young Africans who are classified as NEET – Not in Employment, Education or Training. Youth lack the funds, resources and networks necessary to successfully apply for suitable opportunities that would allow them to learn, gain skills and experience to become more competitive in the job market.

Read more at the YouthTech blog.

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Africa’s mobile youth drive change

The sight of teenagers selling mushrooms using mobile phones is becoming a familiar one in rural Namibia. Namibia Polytechnic faculty member Maurice Nkusi, designer of a cell phone–based curriculum, told the TechDailyNews that most of these children have never even used a computer. But the rapidity with which they master new technology reflects the era in which they are living.

This is the first generation to have direct access to high technology. Cell phones today are nearly ubiquitous in African society. Teenagers and young adults are obsessed by them, carrying them around everywhere.

Read more at the YouthTech blog

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Pesacard: A Smartcard to Boost Financial Empowerment of Children in Kenya

In Kenya, 75% of the country’s 40 million citizens own a mobile phone and a similar percentage of that sector uses mobile money services, particularly M-PESA. Behind the scenes, the key player driving financial inclusion is not a bank but the leading mobile phone service provider – Safaricom.

Read more at the Youth Tech Blog

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Youth Spoke to Leaders and Policymakers during last day of CYFI Africa Meeting

Youth Spoke to Leaders and Policymakers during last day of CYFI Africa Meeting

The last day of the CYFI Regional Meeting for Africa started off with celebratory spirit as Global Money Week, and how to celebrate it was presented. Global Money Week is a global event of national initiatives coordinated by CYFI focused on engaging children in learning how money works, how to save, creating a livelihood, gaining employment, and becoming an entrepreneur. CYFI shared a toolkit for supporting national stakeholders that outlines the details of joining, designing and organizing initiatives for the upcoming Global Money Week celebrations in March 2014. The session was followed by workshops on the topics of Economic Citizenship Education, Sustainable Livelihoods and Youth Employment as well as Financial and Educational Services. 

A very inspiring and rewarding session of the day was the Child, Youth & Adult Policy Dialogue. The session focused on voicing the opinions of the youth participants from the region and gave the present leaders and policymakers first hand feedback on what the youth of the region really want and need with regards to child and youth finance.  The youth participants stepped up on stage in front of the African leaders and policymakers attending the meeting to present their own recommendations that they had during the course of the meeting in reference to three topics; the importance of encouraging savings habits, supporting youth entrepreneurship and the need for career guidance.

The first topic addressed was the importance and need for children and youth to have access to savings accounts and develop responsible money management skills. Their recommendations included the integration of economic citizenship education in the school curriculum, to help children and youth learn about how to manage money as well as the need for specially developed child and youth friendly savings products. For sparking and supporting the African youth entrepreneurial spirit, the second topic of the session, they suggested dedicating funds for financing youth enterprises, introducing and reviewing employment policies for youth on a national level, as well as developing youth-enterprise competitions at schools. Lastly, the need for career guidance was addressed. The youth participants asked for schools to develop career guidance’s programs for advising youth in shaping their career path as well as organization of career days, involving universities and labor associations. 

The meeting was concluded with a closing ceremony. The chair of the ceremony was Dr. E.D. Wala Chabala, CEO of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Mr. Daniele Scauso spoke on behalf of CYFI, stressing the hope that CYFI will be able to call stakeholders from Africa to develop collaboration and actions towards Economic Citizenship Education and Financial Inclusion for the children and youth of Africa. On behalf of the Zambian Minister of Education, Mrs. Christine Mayondi, Deputy Permanent Secretary - Ministry of Education rounded off the two-day meeting by ensuring Zambia’s steps in building a population of capable economic citizens, which includes developing a national strategy that includes Economic Citizenship Education in school curriculums.


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Mobile Merchant Payments offers the Biggest Opportunity for Financial Inclusion among Youth-Owned Enterprises in Africa

Income-generating micro and small enterprises (MSEs) are one of the main instruments of economic empowerment for millions of young entrepreneurs in Africa. Micro-enterprises also provide employment opportunities to millions of youth across the continent

Read more at YouthTech 

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Summary of Day 1 of CYFI Regional Meeting for Africa

Summary of Day 1 of CYFI Regional Meeting for Africa


The first day of the Child and Youth Finance International Regional Meeting for Africa was concluded late yesterday. 150 participants from 14 countries are gathered in Livingstone, Zambia to share practices and opinions and strengthen alliances for Child and Youth finance initiatives in the region. The meeting focuses on bringing together African leaders and policymakers with youth participants to develop national and regional agendas and strategies for Child and Youth Finance issues, and how to bring the Child and Youth Finance Movement further to the goal of reaching 100 million children in 100 countries  with Economic Citizenship Education and access to safe financial services.

During the welcoming speech Dr. Michael Gondwe, Governor of Bank of Zambia stated that hosting this regional meeting is a sign of Zambia committing to placing child and youth finance at the center stage of its development agenda. Further, he said as half of the population of Zambia is below 15, it is a very important issue to be focusing on. The Zambian Minister of Finance, Mr. Alexander Chikwanda further stressed the importance of a Child and Youth Finance focus for Zambia and the region:

Youth are our most important resource. They are the leaders of today and they are our future. Therefore Child and Youth Finance education is essential for every Zambian youth – Mr. Alexander Chikwanda, Minister of Finance, Zambia

After the welcome speech the 'Access Africa' session was held, led by Mr. Chibamba Kanyama, Director General of the Zambian National Broadcasting Corporation. The session focused on ways on how regional bodies and governments can take the lead on Economic Citizenship Education and Financial Inclusion for children and youth.

Later during the day Mr. Reinier van der Lely, consultant at McKinsey & Company and Mr. Daniele Scauso, Regional Platforms Manager at Child & Youth Finance International launched the newly-developed Child and Youth Finance National Implementation plan. The Child and Youth Finance National Implementation plan provides a framework to implement a national platform and action plans for undertaking Child and Youth Finance activities at country level.

An important aspect during the whole meeting was the youth representatives that were taking part during the sessions, giving their own thoughts on Child and Youth Finance to the leaders and policymakers at the meeting. One of the youth representatives voiced his opinion on the importance of financial education and inclusion:

If we do not learn about money and what choices to make, then how can we learn to manage our future? – Youth Participant

The day ended with workshops that engaged the participants of the meeting to share their thoughts and practices on the topics of ´Establishing the National Platform and Roadmap for Implementation´, ´Developing Children and Youth Friendly Banking Products and Services´, as well as ´Monitoring and Evaluating Design for Children and Youth Finance Initiatives´. During the workshops participants were able to share innovation and thought leadership from across various sectors and countries, as well as establish new collaborations.

As the first day of the meeting was concluded and the participants headed out for a sightseeing of the nearby Victoria Falls, the preparations for the second and last day were made. The last day of the meeting is held today September 20, and will focus on the celebration of Global Money Week, workshops and a session dedicated for youth participants to voice their opinions on Economic Citizenship and Financial Issue to the leaders and policymakers. The meeting will be completed by a closing ceremony.

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