The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and The MasterCard Foundation today released a new publication titled Client Protection for Youth Clients. The publication was launched at the second Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) Summit in Istanbul. The Summit celebrated the first milestone of the CYFI Movement of working in 100 countries.
Young people, regardless of their socioeconomic, demographic or geographical situations, face some degree of difficulty or uncertainty as they transition to adulthood. However, the situation that youth experience in developing countries—some 87 percent of the global youth population—is one of the most difficult in many respects. Youth are disproportionately affected by high unemployment rates. The AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa has already orphaned a generation of youth.
Intervening at the inaugural dinner of the Summit, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth pointed out how access to financial and social assets is a key contributing factor to help youth make their own economic decisions and escape poverty. Providing young people with financial services—whether a safe place to save or an appropriately structured loan for investment in an enterprise or education—can promote entrepreneurship and asset building, and emphasize sustainable livelihoods. "For the UN, inclusive finance must be responsible finance [...] The need for client protection is even more critical when the clients of financial service providers are more vulnerable, in particular youth", he said.
"We don't have to wait until the time is ripe, we can ripen the time", said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The The MasterCard Foundation, who closed the Summit's inaugural dinner.
The commitment of the UN towards responsible finance was reinforced by a statement from the UN Secretary-General read during the opening ceremony of the summit. "Access to financial and social assets is essential to helping youth make their own economic decisions and escape poverty," he said. "The United Nations is also playing its part. The UN Capital Development Fund and the United Nations Children's Fund are working with non-governmental organizations and other partners to promote child- and youth-friendly banking principles as well as school curricula that encourage financial competency and social responsibility. I commend these efforts and encourage you to keep working together to shape our common future."
The publication Client Protection for Youth Clients launched during the Summit by UNCDF and The MasterCard Foundation synthesizes the main adaptations made by UNCDF-YouthStart to the indicators of The Smart Campaign's Client Protection Principles (CPP) self-assessment tool. In addition, UNCDF-YouthStart added an eighth principle to the Smart CPPs in order to address the key Child- and Youth-Friendly Banking Principles promoted by Child and Youth Finance International. The purpose of these adaptations is to ensure that, from the beginning, Financial Service Providers (FSPs) working with youth adopt the best practices for youth client protection for their youth offerings.
Intervening at the closing ceremony of the Summit, Marc Bichler, Executive Secretary of UNCDF, reminded the importance of all the initiatives around the world that support youth to access financial services that are responsive to their needs, but first and foremost, protective of their rights. "Access to financial and social assets is essential to helping youth make their own economic decisions and escape poverty. Only through initiatives that support both of these objectives will we be able to achieve the future we want for all. Addressing the urgent situation facing youth with strategies we know can work should be taken into consideration in the post-2015 agenda."
This publication on youth client protection can be downloaded at www.uncdf.org/youthstart.
UNCDF is the UN's capital investment agency for the world's 49 least developed countries. It creates new opportunities for poor people and their communities by increasing access to microfinance and investment capital. UNCDF focuses on Africa and the poorest countries of Asia, with a special commitment to countries emerging from conflict or crisis. It provides seed capital – grants and loans – and technical support to help microfinance institutions reach more poor households and small businesses, and local governments finance the capital investments – water systems, feeder roads, schools, irrigation schemes – that will improve poor peoples' lives. UNCDF programmes help to empower women, and are designed to catalyze larger capital flows from the private sector, national governments and development partners, for maximum impact toward the Millennium Development Goals. For more information, visit https://www.uncdf.org/.
YouthStart, a UNCDF programme funded by The MasterCard Foundation, has provided access to financial services to over 110,000 youth in sub-Saharan Africa and financial literacy training to over 65,000. For more information, visit https://www.uncdf.org/YouthStart/.
The MasterCard Foundation is an independent, global organization based in Toronto, Canada, with more than $6 billion in assets. Through collaboration with partner organizations in 49 countries, mostly in Africa, it is creating opportunities for all people to learn and prosper. The Foundation's programs promote financial inclusion and advance youth learning. Established in 2006 through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide when it became a public company, the Foundation is separate and independent from the company. Its policies, operations, and funding decisions are determined by its own Foundation Board of Directors and President and CEO. For more information on the Foundation, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org.