YouthStart, a UNCDF programme in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, aimed to reach 200,000 youth in sub-Saharan Africa with demand-driven financial services and non-financial services, in particular savings and financial education, by 2015.

The programme came in response to the lack of economic opportunities for the growing population of young people around the world, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.

By the end of the Programme (2015), YouthStart tripled its targets reaching more than 635,000 youth with financial and non-financial services.

What have we done?

UNCDF has provided financial support and technical assistance to ten financial providers (FSP) in eight countries to to design, develop and scale up financial and non-financial services tailored to youth needs.

In Ethiopia, UNCDF has partnered with Amhara Credit and Savings Institutions (ACSI) and Poverty Eradication and Community Empowerment MFI (PEACE) for its youth portfolio.

Through YouthStart, UNCDF has gained a deeper understanding of a) the types of financial services that best meet the needs of youth according to their socio-economic context and developmental stages, b) the business models that FSPs can use to deliver financial education to youth, c) the business case for youth financial services; d) the types of trainings and tools necessary for FSPs to gain a better understanding of the youth market; and, e) the changes needed in the policy and regulatory environment to increase access to financial services for youth.

See what UNCDF wants to do in its expansion phase for youth under the new UNCDF Leaving no one behind in the digital era Strategy. Click here.

FACTS AND FIGURES from youth in ethiopia (findex)


Had an account at FI
(ages: 15-24)


Saved at FSPs
(ages: 15-24)


Borrowed from FI (ages: 15-24)


Had a mobile account

Access to Finance


Acces to Jobs

Finance Literacy

Uncdf youth OUTREACH TO DATE in ethiopia


Youth Clients


Youth Savings (USD)


Youth received financial education

Stories from the Field


Dakar, Senegal

Maria Perdomo
Youth Finance Global Specialist

Ata Cisse
Youth Finance Regional Specialist

Arianna Gasparri
Youth Finance Advisor