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____ Tuesday December 2, 2014 ____

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Global Change

Intergrated African Policy Pledge to Financially Include Kids

Amsterdam, The Netherlands – On 4-5 December 2014 the Third Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting for Africa will be held at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Meeting will bring together Africa’s finest policy makers, educators, research and academic institutions, financial service providers, as well as representatives from various government ministries to develop a common African position on the advancement of a unified financial education and inclusion plan of action for children and youth across the continent. Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) leads the world’s largest movement dedicated to advancing child and youth financial inclusion and education, with partners including The Mastercard Foundation, People’s Postcode Lottery, The Association of Ethiopian Microfinance Institutions (AEMFI), Ethiopian Inclusive finance Training and Research Institution (EIFTRI), African Child Policy Forum (ACPA), ICS: Creating Change, African Youth Panel, Africa 2.0 and Aflatoun, among others.

The main outcome for this meeting includes drafting a policy paper to pledge for an integrated African Policy for Child and Youth Financial Inclusion to be part of Agenda 2063 – “A global strategy to optimize use of Africa’s resources for the benefit of all Africans”[i] for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.

Africa has the fastest-growing youth population in the world. An estimated 65% of the continent’s total population is below the age of 35. In most African countries the responsible ministries are among the least resourced and funded government units. Without appropriate support, the drop out school rate is critically high. In one-third of sub-Saharan African countries, approximately 50% of all children do not complete their primary education. When they grow older, these 50% are in serious danger of being unemployed.

Taking place over two days, the third CYFI Regional Meeting for Africa will include an action packed program of panel discussions, training sessions and workshops. Some of the highlighted speakers include Dr. Louis Kasekende, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Uganda, Mr. Majozi Vincent Sithole, Governor of the Central Bank of Swaziland and Hon. Octave Nicoue Broohm, Minister of Higher Education and Research of Togo. Apart from providing a platform for policy dialogue on financial inclusion, education and employment to take place for the youth, the meeting also serves as an avenue for knowledge sharing, skills and capacity development, and for linking children and youth to take advantage of the current momentum of Agenda 2063.

In November, following the first African Union Commission Specialized Technical Committee Meeting on Youth, Culture and Sport, held in Addis Ababa, the AUC had taken some initial steps, by adopting a recommendation for member states to invest in financial education and inclusion for children and youth, which includes child and youth friendly financial product development. There, CYFI’S Regional Advisor for Africa, Akwasi Osei presented a case for an integrated African policy for financial education and financial inclusion for children and youth at a youth-focused breakout session.

“Young people are more likely to maintain a relationship with financial institutions and have greater financial assets later in life if they own a savings account earlier in life. Therefore, policy innovations that make savings accounts widely available and easily accessible to children are valuable tools for increased savings behavior that can continue into adulthood and lead to improved financial outcomes over the long-term.” – Akwasi Osei, Regional Advisor for Africa, CYFI

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