UNCDF works in Zambia to promote accessible financial services and create financial systems for sustainable and inclusive local development.

Today, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development.

UNCDF is implementing YouthStart, a global initiative that aims to increase access to financial services for low-income youth by developing approaches to offer youth tailored financial and non-financial services.

The YouthStart programme is working with over 10 financial services providers in eight countries to provide access to savings for over 514,000 youth, access to loans to 71,735 young entrepreneurs, and financial literacy and other non-financial services to 502,600 youth.

UNCDF has learned from these different approaches that financial inclusion can help address the youth employment challenge through its regional pilot; however, UNCDF has also found that in order to have a greater and long-lasting impact on youth, the YouthStart program must go beyond financial inclusion. Indeed, while young people need access to relevant and affordable financial services, they also require access to entrepreneurship training, mentoring, apprenticeships, and other relevant non-financial services that can support their transition from school to work at the right time, and allow them to secure and sustain decent jobs and/or start and sustain successful enterprises.

Stories from the Field