Financial Services


Financial services programs work with regulators, financial institutions, and supporting NGOs and CBOs, to design and deliver financial services and education that respond to the savings, borrowing, and risk mitigation needs of young clients. Inclusive finance can play a critical role in enabling youth to invest in employment or educational opportunities, but is often limited by legal hurdles, lack of collateral, and lack of business experience and financial know-how.

Where are we now?

The youth-inclusive financial services (YFS) sector is working to engage policymakers, donors, financial service providers, NGOs, and youth at the macro and micro levels to experiment with new or adapted financial services that meet the needs of youth, while creating business opportunities for the private sector. At the macro level, efforts are focusing on regulators and policymakers to advocate for youth-friendly banking policies that would allow youth more independent access to a range of financial services, and to develop appropriate youth-inclusive client protection principles. At the micro level, financial institutions are researching the youth market to better understand their financial behaviors and needs; and to pilot financial products and services that promise to meet a young person’s specific financial goals as well as present a future business opportunity for financial service providers (FSPs).

Trends and Best Practices

  • Regulatory constraints to serving younger clients require an FSP to think creatively, i.e. finding alternatives to formal identification and minimum age requirements.
  • To appropriately serve young people, practitioners must first use youth-friendly market research techniques to better understand their financial habits and preferences.
  • Youth financial service needs grow and change as they do. Adolescents only need access to savings services, whereas young adults can use a full range of services. Their needs also differ based on geography, education, marital status and employment. FSPs should consider which market segment they can best serve given their experience and assessment of institutional partnerships.
  • Youth financial products may only differ slightly from those offered to adults, including low or no minimum balance savings accounts and alternative guarantees for credit.
  • The major product differences lie in marketing (i.e. attractive color schemes/special logos and tailored messages for young people) and delivery mechanisms (i.e. thinking outside the branch) and in the accompanying non-financial services (i.e. financial education and entrepreneurship) critical for building a young person’s capacity to save, manage their money, and generate income.
  • YFS are often best delivered in partnership, enabling the FSP to focus on the financial product while partner NGOs or government agencies address the financial education and entrepreneurship needs of young people.


Financial Services: Blogs

What Youths Could Teach World Leaders on Development Targets

Originally published by the Huffington Post on September 25, 2015. 

At the United Nations in New York today, world leaders are gathering to finalize the Global Goals -- the targets that will replace the Millennium Development Goals and shape trillions of dollars of spending over the next 15 years. There is much high-minded rhetoric here at the United Nations that development is all about people.

Solutions for Youth Employment: A Unique Way of Fostering Private Sector Involvement

A Good Job means equality. A Good Job means opportunity. A good job means excitement. A Good Job means sustainability. These are just a few of the descriptions of a “Good Job” that we heard from youth and others in attendance at last October’s launch event for Solutions for Youth Employment (S4YE) coalition.

It was at this event that S4YE unveiled a vision for a world where all youth have access to work opportunities that empower them to escape poverty, thus boosting shared prosperity worldwide. An urgent challenge.  A massive opportunity.  

Rockefeller Foundation Supports Online Learning

Originally published by BPESA on September 4, 2015

With over 215,000 people employed, the contact centre industry is one of South Africa’s major sources of employment and is one of the few industries accessible to a large percentage of South Africa’s unemployed youth.

Effective Integration of Financial Services into Economic Opportunities Programming for Youth

The United Nations Population Fund reports that there are 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24, with 89 percent of them residing in less-developed countries (2014). In Sub-Saharan Africa, minors often account for more than 50 percent of a country’s population.

Moreover, by 2050, the world’s population will increase by 2 billion, an increase of 28 percent, all of whom will require access to health and education services, and eventually to jobs and self-employment opportunities.

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Putting Youth Employment at the Heart of Growth

The demographic divide is stark: while industrial nations are aging, the face of the developing world is overwhelmingly young. In Africa for example, nearly 70% of the population is under the age of 30. Tapping the potential of this emerging generation is a critical challenge. According to the International Labour Organization, two-thirds of working-age youth in some developing countries are either unemployed or trapped in low-quality jobs. 

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What Youth Want: A Guide for Policy Makers

In this review of 25 statements from youth summits and consultations globally, as well as 11 national and regional youth polls, we hear some priorities we expect: youth want jobs, the chance to start their own businesses, and high-quality relevant education.

But we also see that young people everywhere are increasingly concerned about issues of governance, corruption, and both regional and national security.

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