UNCDF and The MasterCard Foundation Release Building the Business Case for Youth Financial and Non-Financial Services.
  • November 05, 2013

The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and The MasterCard Foundation released a new publication titled ‘Building the business case of youth services’. The publication was launched at a joint panel with CGAP at the Making Cents International’s 2013 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Conference, a worldwide landmark event on youth financial inclusion. 

The objective of the paper is twofold:

  • For FSPs: To assess the effort needed to achieve the profitability of youth services and recommend how FSPs can improve the pathway towards profitability of youth services. 
  • For development partners: To show how the support of development partners impacts the pathway towards profitability of youth services and fosters youth financial inclusion.

‘Building the business case of youth services’ analyzes the data from three of the ten YouthStart partners. The paper provides the following answers to FSPs that are looking for a business model to serve youth in a sustainable manner: 

  • How similar or different are youth savers to adult small savers? 
  • What are the main cost drivers of serving youth with products that are designed to meet their needs? 
  • How can FSPs optimize expenses of serving youth?
  • What are some of the cost implications of integrating youth financial services with non-financial services? Can FSPs provide both in a sustainable manner?
  • Do youth savings increase over time?
  • What volume of savings can FSPs expect to generate from youth?
  • What is the average savings we can expect a young person to maintain in an FSP? 
  • What should be the ideal composition of the youth portfolio of an FSP? 
  • What is the timeframe that FSPs need to achieve the break-even point of youth services? 
  • What should be the role of development partners and under what circumstances should development partners invest in FSPs willing to enter the youth market? 

Although this paper presents the preliminary findings on a longer research, UNCDF-YouthStart has found enough evidence to indicate that there is indeed a compelling business case for FSPs to serve youth, helping youth make their own economic decisions and reduce their vulnerability. UNCDF is hopeful that the existing and forthcoming evidence will encourage other FSPs and stakeholders to start providing youth with access to financial and non-financial services. 

This publication on how to build the business case of youth services can be downloaded at


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

YouthStart, a UNCDF programme funded by The MasterCard Foundation, has provided access to financial services to over 190,000 youth in sub-Saharan Africa and financial literacy training to over 200,000. For more information, visit

The MasterCard Foundation is an independent, global organization based in Toronto, Canada, with more than $7 billion in assets. Through collaboration with partner organizations in 46 countries, it is creating opportunities for all people to learn and prosper. The Foundation’s programs promote financial inclusion and advance youth learning, mostly in Africa. Established in 2006 through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide when it became a public company, the Foundation is a separate and independent entity. The policies, operations, and funding decisions of the Foundation are determined by its own Board of Directors and President and CEO. To learn more about The MasterCard Foundation, please visit