2015 News

Article illuminates savings of Sub-Saharan Africa’s youth

​Most young people in Sub-Saharan Africa are not saving money, and an article in the journal Global Social Welfare explains what helps or hurts them in their efforts. 

The authors, led by Li Zou, international director at the Center for Social Development (CSD), conducted in-depth interviews with youth, parents, caregivers and school stakeholders in Ghana and Kenya as part of the YouthSave project.

They collected first-person accounts from Ghana and Kenya that could help financial institutions, policymakers and others working to develop financial products for youth and to promote financial inclusion, Li said.

“This was a great opportunity to learn directly from young people,” Li said. “They told personal, on-the-ground stories about how they experienced saving in the context of poverty.”

Here are some key findings:

  • Support from parents, schools and financial institutions facilitate youth saving and financial inclusion.
  • Lack of financial resources and conflicting demands on their income hinder young people from saving.
  • Institutional features play an important role in facilitating or obstructing youth from saving in Ghana and Kenya.
  • Financial institutions that make it easy for young people to open accounts and deposit money are more likely to build youth savings.

The MasterCard Foundation supports the global consortium that piloted YouthSave in Colombia, Ghana, Kenya and Nepal. The consortium includes CSD, Save the Children, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, and the New America Foundation.

The five-year project will be complete this summer. One of its goals is to understand the conditions for sustainable delivery of savings products and services that can substantially improve the life chances of low-income youth in the developing world. Another goal is to transfer the knowledge to those in positions to support the accessibility and quality of appropriate savings products and services.

To read the article in Global Social Welfare, “Facilitators and Obstacles in Youth Saving: Perspectives from Ghana and Kenya,” please click here. To learn about more findings from YouthSave, please click here.