Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with immense humility and pride that I am delighted to be afforded the opportunity to bring
opening remarks at this Webinar on Promoting Youth Financial Inclusion in Latin America and
the Caribbean. I sincerely hope that all through this session, we will gain a deeper understanding
on how greater financial inclusion for Youth in the LAC region through implementation of
sustainable policies can be attained
How is YOUTH defined?
While there is no universal definition for youth; each country categorizes youth by age related to
its economic and social situation. Therefore, in order to facilitate data analyzes, the United Nation
(UN) defines youth as a person between the ages of 15 and 24 years old. According to UN, as of
2019, there were 1.2 billion young adults between the ages of 15 and 24, with a greater proportion
of youths residing in less developed regions.
At the present, there are 106 million young people between 15 and 24 years of age living in Latin
America and the Caribbean, which represents 20% of the total population. It is the largest
proportion of young people ever in the region’s history. To quote a well-known maxim “our Youths
are the future”, and in order to ensure a sustained and rewarding future, their inputs shouldn’t be
neglected and need to be included in any conversation.
In many developing countries, youths have the potential to drive economic growth. Yet, young
people are disproportionately excluded from the formal financial system.
To quote the International Labour Organization (ILO), more than one in five of the world’s youth
are ‘not in employment, education, or training’.
At this phase of life, youths are the most divergent, and dissimilar to any other grouping with three
notably different stages 1) Early adolescence, 2) late adolescence and 3) young adults; thus, adding
complexities as each stage is faced with distinct financial needs and its own unique challenges and
The challenges for this segment of the population are diverse and may differ region to region
though some common threats exist, such as, unfavorable regulation, inaccessible of financial
products, lack of financial literacy, cultural or gender barriers and lack of collateral among others
Financial inclusion and financial education play a crucial role in addressing many of these
challenges. For all the statement mentioned above, it is imperative to consider youth as key target
in strategies related to financial inclusion and education policies. In an era affected by a poly-crisis
we need effective policies addressing spinoffs related to COVID 19, inflationary concerns amongst
others, given young people are facing multiple shocks as a result of the pandemic and other
adversarial geopolitical issues. For example, as a direct consequence of the Covid 19 pandemic
more than one in six young people (18 to 29 years old) are unemployed, with a predominant effect
on young women, according to an ILO study in 2020).
Taking back our National Financial Inclusion Strategy and the Haitian National Plan (PNEF), I
will share with you two examples:
The First one is the integration of financial education in school. The central bank of Haiti, “Banque
de la République d’Haïti”, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, along with a partner
organization are currently working on a pilot phase to integrate “Social and Financial Education”
themes into the Haitian Curriculum Scholars, this project is planned to be fully implemented
nationwide, starting next school year of 2023-2024.
The second one is related to financial inclusion of young entrepreneurs. In Haiti, we have tried to
address the problem by providing a group of young entrepreneurs with coaching for six months on
financial education. At the end of this first step, they will then receive a grant facilitating their
access to the financial sector. This pilot project, launched in 2021, was dedicated this year,
specifically towards targeting young women entrepreneurs.
The challenges and barriers faced by the youth segment of the population in the region, require
innovative inclusive finance solutions according to their different needs and life stages. Financial
inclusion is critical in reducing their vulnerability in the transition to adulthood and a key driver
for youth employment, education and empowerment.
The main objective of this webinar is to have an overview of the national level of innovative
policies and regulations, to discuss and to learn from each other of effective design and
implementation of policies for youth financial inclusion in the LAC region.
Today, several countries in the region such as Mexico, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Peru and
Honduras will present on how LAC members are advancing financial inclusion for this
Let’s all focus together on the four main pillars of this webinar which are: of: 1) Data collection;
2) National strategies; 3) Regulatory reforms and 4) Non regulatory reforms & policies.
I hope the following technical session will motivate your institutions to take further urgent and
concrete action towards policies to positively impact this demographic group.
Wishing you all an efficient discussion on Promoting Youth Financial Inclusion in the LAC region.
Thank you for your attention!