Financial Inclusion for Children and Youth: Assessing the Country-level Regulatory and Policy Framework

 

Mission

The mission of Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) is to empower all children and youth, particularly those who are vulnerable and marginalized, by increasing their financial capability, enhancing their awareness of social and economic rights and improving their access to appropriate financial services so as to build their assets and invest in their own futures. CYFI proposes that financial, social and livelihoods education and financial inclusion are the building blocks of economic citizenship for children and youth. The CYFI Movement was launched in April 2012.

The Movement’s partners and supporters comprise a truly multi- stakeholder network, including financial authorities, education authorities, financial institutions, international NGOs, multilateral foundations, leading academics, as well as children and youth. The partners have come together in support of the Movement’s guiding objective; to empower children and youth by paving the way to economic citizenship. To that end, the Movement encourages the creation of systems in which the interest of children and youth are pushed to the forefront, in which children and youth are recognized as important stakeholders whose financial safety must be secured, and in which their risks of financial exploitation are minimized.

Ensuring appropriate regulatory reform in the field of youth finance is one of CYFI’s core activities. In most countries, for children to have access to appropriate financial products and have control over those financial products, a fundamental alteration of the legislative landscape is necessary. Policymakers and legislators should ensure that appropriate changes to national regulatory frameworks are enacted to effect such changes.

Henceforth, the CYFI Regulation Initiative was created, which aims to map the current status of different legal frameworks regulating access to financial products for children and youth in countries around the world. A first version of the CYFI Regulation Survey was created in collaboration with Houthoff/Lex Mundi in 2012. An adapted version of this survey has recently been disseminated among regulators in Latin America, with assistance in coordination by the Central Bank of Colombia and the Association of Supervisors of Banks of the Americas (ASBA)  in order to retrieve the most complete set of answers on the regulatory framework regarding youth and finance. CYFI aims to disseminate this survey in a similar manner in the other four world regions as well.

The data gathered with this survey will be included in the database of the Financial Inclusion Guide: A Practitioner’s Resource for Navigating the Financial Inclusion Legal Environment of Boston University’s Centre for Finance, Law and Policy.

 

A Chance for Change: Child and Youth Finance in the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) held a high-level stakeholders meeting entitled, “A Chance for Change: Child and Youth Finance and the Post-2015 Agenda” on the 23rd of May, 2014 at the United Nations. The main purpose of this meeting was to ensure that social and financial inclusion becomes a topic within the development agenda and to ensure that every young person emerging into adulthood has a dignified livelihood either through employment or entrepreneurship.

The main recommendations of CYFI are the following:

Economic Citizenship Education (financial, social and livelihoods) should be offered in primary, secondary and post-secondary school curricula. This should be included in the Post-2015 Development Agenda in focus area 4 and/or focus area 5 with the mandate that all children and youth regardless of gender should have access to these important education topics.

 

Financial Inclusion Every youth should have access to child and youth friendly banking products. This scheme could be linked to the graduation from primary school. This should be included in the Post-2015 Development Agenda in focus area 1 and/or focus area 8 with specific mention to all children and youth having access to child and youth friendly banking products from the age of 8 onwards.

 

Youth Livelihoods Governments should create policies and programs to prevent youth unemployment and facilitate youth entrepreneurship through special funds. This should be included in the Post-2015 Development Agenda in focus area 8, 9 and/or 16 with the specific mention that creating job opportunities through entrepreneurship and training are critical governmental responsibilities for ensuring the livelihoods of the coming generations.

 

The Report of the UN meeting can be accessed here: A Chance for Change_Summary Report 2014-2

 

More information:

CYFI – Research Brief – Research Evidence on the child and youth finance model of economic citizenship-2