- Category: News and Highlights
KIPPRA in collaboration with the other YouthSave partners in Kenya (Postbank and Save the Children) held a media briefing on the successes and impact of the SMATA account and the achievements of the YouthSave project in Kenya on May 23, 2014. The briefing was held at Sarova Stanley Hotel.
Young people under the age of 19 years constitute a third of the world population, with 85 per cent of them living in developing countries (some 800 million on less than US$2 per day). While only 4.2 million have access to financial services, these youth have managed to accumulate US$48 million in savings. In Kenya, youth between 10 and 19 years account for 23 per cent of the total population, but the 2009 FinAccess National Survey found that about 74 per cent of youth aged between 16-17 years are excluded from any form of financial access.
If an opportunity to save via formal financial services is provided, will the youth participate? The project investigates the potential of savings accounts as a tool for youth development and financial inclusion in developing countries by co-creating tailored, sustainable savings products with local financial institutions and assessing their performance and development outcomes with local researchers. The target is young people aged 12 to 18 from predominantly low-income households. The project is an initiative of the YouthSave Consortium, coordinated by Save the Children in partnership with the Center for Social Development (CSD) at Washington University in St Louis, the New America Foundation, and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP). Research partners in the field include: University of Los Andes in Colombia; Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana; Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) and New ERA in Nepal. Participating institutions are BancoCaja Social (BCS) in Colombia, HFC in Ghana, Kenya Post Office Savings Bank (KPOSB) in Kenya, and Bank of Kathmandu (BoK) in Nepal.
The tailor-made financial products were launched at different times in 2012. In Colombia, BCS began offering the product in late February, followed by BOK in Nepal in April, and HFC in Ghana and Postbank in Kenya in May. In Kenya, close to 80,000 adolescents, many of them living below US$2.50 a day, have been able to access a formal youth savings account offered by Postbank. The account, called SMATA, has allowed these young people to participate in making their own financial decisions as opposed to only parents, guardians or caregivers doing so.