> Posted by Jeffrey Riecke, Communications Associate, CFI

Jeroo Billimoria of Global Money Week, a worldwide child and youth financial empowerment movement, recently said, “Want to ensure poor children mature into poor adults? Make sure they spend all their leftover cash.” To me, that simple statement captures the obvious case for advancing financial inclusion for children and youth. Youth save at dismal rates and lack adequate access to formal financial services. Global Money Week, expected to span 112 countries, 485 organizations, and 2 million children, aims to combat this reality.

The weeklong movement, now in its third year, is led by Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI), a global network working towards the financial inclusion and economic empowerment of children and youth. Global Money Week’s participants range from central banks, to government ministers, schools, NGOs, the media, and children. Its activities include bank visits, educational events, expert discussions, online engagements, and the launching of new research and initiatives.

One of the new reports launched in coincidence with Global Money Week is Banking a New Generation: Developing Responsible Retail Banking Products for Children and Youth, a joint-publication from MasterCard and Child & Youth Finance International. The publication is designed to support financial institutions, NGOs, and governments in collaboratively developing financial products and services appropriate for children and youth. Among the publication’s content are guiding principles for appropriate child and youth products, the case for financial institutions investing in this client segment, and considerations for the product development process.

The magnitude of Global Money Week mirrors the challenge of achieving financial inclusion for children and youth. Around the world, only 38 percent of youth (ages 15-25) have some sort of account at a formal institution. In high income areas, 42 percent of youth save in formal accounts. The two regions with the next highest savings rates are East Asia and Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa with 19 and 9 percent, respectively. When youth in developing countries are asked why they don’t have a bank account, they most often cite a lack of money and high account fees, the same reasons cited most often by adults.

To get involved in Global Money Week, visit the event site, where there are lists of activities broken down by country, toolkits, and other resources.

To participate on social media, engage with the Global Money Week Facebook page, and on Twitter with the @GlobalMoneyWeek account and the #GMW2014 hashtag.

Image credit: Global Money Week

Have you read?

Four Insights into Youth Financial Capability

Riding Financial Inclusion Disruption: Are Youth Savers the Surfers or the Wave?

Extending Protection to Youth Clients