By 2050, the global population is expected to reach 9 billion, half of which will be found on the African continent. Current estimates show that the African population is more than a billion people of whom over 60 per cent are young men and women under the age 35, about 364 million of these are between the ages of 15-35, making Africa the youngest population in the world.
Despite their potential most youth face unemployment, underemployment, lack of adequate and sometimes appropriate skills and access to capital to be self-employed in their different economic activities. Majority lack collaterals, fear taking risks and some unaware of the products offered by financial institutions. Some of these hurdles are associated with regulatory frameworks and societal biases that tend to favor older, more stable population segments who tend to easily access finance.
Although financial technology appears to be a promising tool for expanding outreach and uptake of formal financial services, digital financial services (DFS) present new risks for the financial sector and young consumers. According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC) some of the challenges witnessed by banks and FinTech Companies include: low levels of formal financial services; low income and financial literacy levels; underdeveloped technology and venture capital ecosystems and relative weak infrastructure.
An inclusive financial sector therefore requires supportive macro-level policies, as well as incentives and technical support to build capacity, manage risk and develop new product innovations that are truly accessible and ultimately used by youth.
The Alliance for Financial Inclusion has developed The Youth Financial Inclusion Policy Framework which provides recommendations for regulators and policymakers to advance financial inclusion for youth. The framework provides policy guidance and impact of financial inclusion.
The Youth Financial Inclusion Policy Framework is available at: https://www.afi-global.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/AFI_YFI_PM_AW_digital.pdf