Unemployed African Youth to Benefit from UN-backed Finance Programme

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Some 200,000 low-income youth in sub-Saharan Africa will benefit from a United Nations-backed initiative announced today to increase access for them to financial services in a region where youth unemployment rates are two to three times that of adults.

YouthStart, co-sponsored by UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the MasterCard Foundation, which has made a four-year, $12 million contribution, is a competition-based programme that will identify and support up to 12 financial institutions to pilot and roll out sustainable financial services tailored to youth.

“We are excited about the potential for YouthStart to accelerate the establishment of youth financial services in sub-Saharan Africa,” UNCDF Executive Secretary David Morrison said.

“Our strong expertise in ensuring that more households and small businesses gain access to credit, savings, insurance and other financial services that expand opportunities, combined with the Foundation’s network and resources, presents another boost for reducing poverty and accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” he added, referring to UN targets to slash a host of social ills by 2015.

UNCDF will encourage collaboration among financial institutions and providers of non-financial services to spur innovation and influence policy decisions, enabling youth to participate in inclusive financial sectors.

Source: UN News Centre (link opens in a new window)