YouthStart Creating Economic Opportunities for Youth

  • June 05, 2014

  • Dakar, Senegal

Patrick is a young, proud man who just graduated from school. When he was first approached two years ago by FINCA Uganda, he had just turned 16 and did not believe he could go to a bank to open an account. Whenever he tried to save, he kept his money at home but was constantly tempted to spend it on petty things.

When Patrick opened a savings account, he was not quite sure what he would do with the money. Gradually, as he completed the financial-education module offered by FINCA, he started to develop a project and learned how to use a savings account. For the first time, he managed to save to achieve a goal: saving over a period of 12 months to purchase a small pig. As the picture shows, in just one year, his once little pig worth 50,000 Uganda shilling (US$20) has become a healthy pig worth 125,000 Uganda shilling (US$50).

Patrick’s story is one of many our partners share of young people who have been able to accumulate assets and build the foundation for a small first business. These reports illustrate that financial services aimed at youth can help to promote asset-building and sustainable livelihoods, especially when complemented with life, entrepreneurship and financial-literacy training.

These stories also make the growth of the programme even more meaningful to our team and 10 partners. Since the start of the programme, our partners have continued to exceed their targets and achieved the following results as of March 2014:

  • Provided 360,391 youth access to financial services , 42 percent of whom are women and 31 percent of whom are below 18 years of age
  • Mobilized $10.8million in savings from youth
  • Granted loans to 47,206 youth, for a total gross loan portfolio of over $5 million
  • Offered non-financial service sessions (financial, entrepreneurship and/or reproductive-health education) to 388,046 young people

These figures highlight the importance of the trend towards youth financial inclusion and that this client segment is a viable one for financial service providers (FSPs). Providing youth with such services prepares them to set and attain goals to make them economically empowered, and sets a strong foundation for youth to develop into financially educated adults. Most importantly, Patrick’s story shows how financial inclusion brings hope and creates new economic opportunities for an aspiring and enterprising young generation.