“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world” (Nelson Mandela)
Considering youth as stakeholders in financial education and product development is paramount to shaping the future of a cashless generation. Financial institutions have the opportunity to make a difference for youth, moving beyond just offering a “promotional piggybank”.
Recently, I had the pleasure of being a part of the second annual CYFI Summit organized by Child and Youth Finance International in Istanbul – which brought together youth and senior level participants from governments, financial institutions, NGOs and children’s rights advocates, and academics from over 80 countries.
My colleague Jennifer Rademaker and I co-authored a discussion paper together with CYFI and the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) under the direction of MasterCard’s arrangement with Bankers without Borders which outlines an approach for how banks and financial institutions can respect and support children’s rights through financial products and services.
Investing in sound financial education and products for youth is good business for both governments and banks. Financial institutions can provide safe, secure and responsible financial products and services which can support young people to accumulate capital, send or receive money safely, and take loans to pursue goals such as higher learning, entrepreneurial ventures and increasing assets – and thus improve livelihoods and youth’s overall development.
The SASSA program in South Africa exemplifies how electronic payments can dramatically improve the lives of huge underserved youth populations (15 million recipients in South Africa, of which 6 million are child social welfare receipts) – while at the same time, creating efficiencies and transparency for the government.
We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on children’s rights and financial products, as well as on the paper itself.