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.

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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.

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APEC Guidebook on Financial and Economic Literacy

The APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Guidebook on Financial and a1sx2_300_APEC_20141211-095201_1.png Economic Literacy in Basic Education, released earlier this month, is set to be a valuable resource for policy makers and practitioners concentrating on financial and economic education at the primary and early secondary school level. The Guidebook demonstrates how to design and implement learning activities related to financial and economic literacy for children and youth.

Child & Youth Finance International joined the World Bank, OECD, Aflatoun, and national authorities from Australia, Canada, China, Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, and the United States in setting the outline and content of the Guidebook in September 2012. CYFI’s Global Evaluation and Engagement department contributed to the chapter on resource mobilization and edited the rationale and curriculum integration chapters.

The report comes the month after the APEC celebrated 25 years of being the primary forum for facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Getting Child and Youth Finance on the Microfinance Agenda

Getting Child and Youth Finance on the Microfinance Agenda

We had so many great lessons and met a multitude of inspiring people and organizations during the Partnership Against Poverty Summit in Manila, Philippines, hosted by Microcredit Summit Campaign. One of the most rewarding things we took with us from the meeting was the fact that Child and Youth Finance has now made its way into the international microfinance agenda. A great sign of this is the recently announced partnership between CYFI and Microcredit Summit Campaign - partnering up to reach 100 million children, youth and their families with financial inclusion.

Prior to the actual Summit, Child and Youth Finance had the opportunity to take part in the pre-Summit Ending Poverty Action Retreat, which brought together some of the most prominent practitioners and thought leaders in the field of microfinance, as well as leading organizations in other fields working to end poverty in different, but often related ways. CYFI was invited specifically to bring the child and youth perspective – a reflection of CYFI’s hard work over the last few years to put child and youth finance on related policy and action agendas on financial inclusion and poverty alleviation.

Reflecting on more than 20 years of microfinance, the Retreat participants emphasized the importance of bringing back the focus of microfinance on what it was originally designed for: ending extreme poverty. Some key recommendations coming forward from the Retreat which were presented at the final Summit day’s closing plenary were:

  1. A renewed focus on ending extreme poverty and related client demographic data collection, using the Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI)
  2. An integral focus on vulnerable groups of clients, such as children and youth, the disabled, the elderly, and the LGBT community
  3. Integrated product offering, moving beyond credit only, including savings, insurance, pension, and non-financial services such as (financial) education and health services 
  4. Strengthened focus on partnership across sectors, focusing on ending extreme poverty

These and other recommendations were strenghtened in speeches by Nobel Peace Prize Awardee Prof. Yunus (Founder Grameen Bank) and Mr. John Hatch (Founder Finca USA).

A sign of the long-term commitment to including young people as an important part to the financial agenda, Child and Youth Finance International is invited to participate in the Summit of 2014 to share our progress and further inspire microfinance initiatives with child and youth as serious stakeholders. 

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Sibos in Osaka

From October 29 to November 1, the Sibos 2012 took place in Osaka in the INTEX centre, one of the largest exhibitions centres in Japan. Jeroo Billimoria, Managing Director, represented Child and Youth Finance International in the event.

Every year Sibos brings together influential leaders from financial institutions, market infrastructures, multinational corporations and technology partners to do business and shape the future of the financial industry. Facilitated and organised by SWIFT for the SWIFT community, Sibos is much more than a conference and exhibition. It is a unique forum to collaborate and take collective action in payments, securities, cash management and trade. With the power to draw some 7,000 participants from across the globe, Sibos is unparalleled in its reputation to reach the entire financial services industry.

For more information visit the SIBOS website.

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Commonwealth Youth Programme Pacific Regional Consultation

Commonwealth Youth Programme Pacific Regional Consultation (June 27-29)

This event focused specifically on the issue of expanding financial inclusion to increase youth employment in the Pacific Region. The event gathered representatives from Central Banks, Ministries of Youth and Ministries of Finance from leading Pacific nations such as Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga and New Zealand. It also brought together prominent regional representatives from multilateral organizations such as the ILO, ADB and the UNDP.

CYFI was invited to present on the CYFI Education Learning Framework and our work to support national strategies for financial inclusion and education for children and youth.

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OECD Financial Education Meeting, 11-12 September

The OECD Financial Education Meeting was held for Asia-Pacific, Sept 11-12 in Cebu, Philippines. This event brought together high-level officials and experts from central banks and officials of state governments, the private sector, academia as well as non-government organisations from South East Asia/ASEAN and APEC countries.CYFI presented on the CYFI financial education framework and the integration of financial inclusion and education in schools.

For more information on the OECD meeting you can consult their website

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