The Business Case for Youth Financial Services

I just read this article on youth financial services by Ruth Dueck-Mbeba, very insightful! It first appeared on the Young Africa Works blog.

yaw-logo-webThere are an estimated 1.8 billion people in the world between the ages of 15 and 24, and most of them live in developing countries. Through the work of our partners, The MasterCard Foundation has learned that young people around the world are financially active, and that they can and do save. Through these programs, more than 820,000 young people to date have accessed savings services and nearly 130,000 have borrowed for education, emergencies or small businesses.

In the near future, these young people will be adults in need of financial services as they continue their education, start families, enter employment or start and grow their businesses. Offering youth formal financial services early in life, especially savings accounts, is likely to pay off for financial service providers (FSPs) as youth become adults who need other services, and who are comfortable in the formal financial services environment.

The formal financial sector offers the most scalable and sustainable solutions for providing access to finance to the most clients. However, few commercial financial service providers target young people as a unique customer segment. The challenge that many banks and financial service providers (FSPs) face, is to weigh the strategic trade-offs  of starting with low-balances and often inactive savings accounts held by young people – which will not be profitable for a very long period – with more lucrative, short-term opportunities, particularly in dynamic markets. How do FSPs address short-term with long-term opportunities and trade-offs?

In partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, YouthSave was created to answer a number of questions about youth savings accounts for young people between the ages of 12 and 18 by conducting market research, developing unique products, piloting and rolling out products and documenting learning. YouthSave was established as a consortium of FSPs, research partners, and several organizations including Save the Children, the Center for Social Development, New America and Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) CGAP’s role was to undertake analysis on the specific question: Is there a “business case” for youth savings accounts?

YouthSave wanted to know what combination of product and service characteristics and marketing strategies can lead to profitability, sustainability and commercial adoption of youth savings accounts among financial institutions. CGAP produced a Business Case Framework for Youth Savings that lays out a structured way in which to think about building the business case. It considers the contextual, market and institutional factors that affect the decision to serve young people sustainably. The framework also considers the cost and revenue factors that affect the commercial “break-even point” of a specific youth savings product (this is the quantitative measure to determine if there is a viable, commercial means to provide a particular product or service). Because the framework can be customized to individual institutions’ context and interests, it can serve as a strategic tool for analyzing the profitability of offering youth savings.

The framework concludes that there is no single answer to whether there is a business case for youth savings across different contexts at different points in time. A more practical approach is to determine what drives value for FSPs offering savings products to youth. What factors at the market, institutional, and segment levels make youth financial services an attractive proposition? A sustainable business case for youth savings will rely on an institution’s ability to balance the costs and revenues of this product offering, and do that over the life cycle of the client, not just the short-term.

In the YouthSave partnership, analysis confirmed that there is no short- or medium-term profitability for serving young people with low-balance savings accounts using traditional branch-based banking models. Although the YouthSave project did not explore other technology-enabled models, we did learn valuable insights on how to build a business case for financial service providers regardless of the model. One key factor is time. It is important to understand how a financial services provider builds value for its future customers and how it creates life-time loyalty, under what market conditions and with which institutional capacities. The business case is also highly influenced by the enabling environment, such as national financial inclusion, education programs or the legal age to open a savings account, and the maturity and competitiveness of a market. More competitive markets often provide an opportunity for FSPs to target a niche customer segment, such as youth.

The Young Africa Works Summit will feature a break out session entitled “Increasing Economic Opportunities for Youth through Access to Finance: Building the Business Case.” This session will probe business case analyses from three FSPs participating in UNCDF’s YouthStart program, another partnership with The MasterCard Foundation. The YouthStart program tested youth financial service products with ten FSPs in eight countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The break out session will be offered twice during the Summit and provide the opportunity to hear directly from the FSPs, YouthStart and YouthSave colleagues on their learning and experiences. We encourage you to download the CGAP Business Case Framework for Youth Savings publication to learn more.

African Union Youth Business Linkages Forum delegates issue statement on Xenophobic attacks in South Africa

A session at inaugural African Union youth business linkages forum held on the 21st of August through the 23rd of August 2014 at Tribes Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya.

A session at inaugural African Union Youth Business Linkages Forum held on the 21st of August through the 23rd of August 2014 at Tribes Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya.

WE, the delegates of the inaugural African Union youth business linkages forum upon convening virtually as a Pan African Youth grouping adhere to and attest to the following:

  • In memoriam of the late Ernesto Alfabeto Nhamuave from Mozambique who was set alight in 2008 in addition to over 50 other killings that same year, all of whom were conducted under a series of xenophobic attacks – strongly condemn the current and most recent wave of xenophobic attacks of 2015 that seem to continue to the extent of targeted foreign nationals in South Africa now needing to protect themselves within a nation whose laws are meant to protect all law abiding citizens, foreign or otherwise.
  • Recognize that the spate of current Xenophobic attacks is now a matter that tears the very fabric of Pan-Africanism and African Unity as it is domiciled within a Nation that is meant to be amongst the continent’s biggest economies.
  • Re-iterate that a rising united Africa will require socio-economic developments that are devoid of incidents such as those that underpin the current Xenophobic attacks in the Republic of South Africa.
  • Call upon and request for vigilance, restraint and unity amongst the rest of the continent’s citizenry against the need to retaliate, notwithstanding the acknowledgement that the contrary is very plausible as this has become a repeat offense from a similar demographic of the few citizens of South Africa who may not know better but still enjoy the freedom to exercise their ill-informed demeanour against hard-working foreigners in South Africa. Yet these foreigners still contribute to the prosperity of their economically adopted land.
  • In the context of such documentation as Africa’s Agenda 2063, being forerun by Africa’s Economic institutions namely the African Development Bank, The African Union Commission and The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, note that continental support from all of Africa’s youth from a common standpoint is required for the realization of Agenda2063 and achievement of its tenets and this support in retrospect will be seen to have been eroded at an exponential rate by the lack of requisite coordinated responses similar to how the pre-cursor Addis Ababa meetings in the 1960s to the setting up of Organisation of African Unity.

We issue this statement without reservation or prejudice as our stand against Xenophobia on this day, 17 April 2015, that has been declared as Black Friday in some circles as we mourn the dearth and death in Continental Patriotism initiated by the Xenophobic attacks or should we call them Aphrophobic attacks in South Africa.

Press Contacts

Munyaradzi Musamba


loveafrica [at]

Practical Tips to Carrying Out Market Research for your Agribusiness

Interesting read!



Titi has an idea to start a fish farm at the back of her house. Last week Sunday, she met Mrs. Chima who had started a fish farm six months ago and is doing very well. She already has a cold room and is supplying to frozen food resellers across Lagos! It amazing right? As a sharp lady tired of looking for job or sitting at home it sounds like a great idea to start her own fish farm.

She has the essentials

* A large space behind the house to set up,

*Her nephew is around waiting for university admission; getting staff is covered,

*She has enough saved up to buy the first breed of cat fish plus the feed.

If what Mrs. Chima is telling her is right N80,000 is enough to start and in a couple of months if all goes right she too will become big…

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a worthy story to share with all youth – in Uganda and beyond



We spend a lot of time listening to speeches in Uganda – which wouldn’t be bad at all if most of them were like the one below.

This isn’t the first time I’ve read Patrick Bitature’s speeches (including the one below) and certainly not the first time I’ve felt the urge to share them.

Enjoy reading this, but more importantly, share it with everybody you know who has not yet started out in the real world…and some who already have:



I will share with you my life story.

I was born into a reasonably well-off family. My parents worked for the EAC, so we had lived in Kenya and Tanzania. We had drivers and many privileges that I took for granted. We owned property, farms, buses, and cars.

When I was 13 my dad was brutally murdered by the Idi Amin regime. My Dad died at the age…

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Wells, Boreholes and Bulk Water Suppliers in Zimbabwe

irrigated field

The increase in the erratic nature of water supply in most urban centres has led to the need to augment the little water that is available. In Zimbabwe the main sources are wells, boreholes and bulk water suppliers. All have their short falls and as water specialists we feel it is our role to advise the public on the best practices.


Though reasonably priced, these are shallow in depth and in most cases are limited in the amount of water they can supply reliably. In many cases they are a cause of water borne diseases due to poor enclosure and in extreme cases exposure to leaks and spillage of sewer pipes. Best practice is to cover the well to prevent the entry of foreign materials.


This is another source of water which allows areas with limited supply to have potable water delivered in tanks. Bulk water has fixed rates in the range of $50 – $70 for 5000 litres. For areas were the commodity is not available this may be the reasonable source but in the long run the cost of the service is very high. At the moment there isn’t a formal regulatory system, which may compromise the health of consumers. Due care needs to be taken. Suppliers must be reputable companies with vehicles and bowsers that do not compromise the quality of the water.


The issue of boreholes raises a number of questions which we hope we can answer e.g. borehole siting, drilling, capacity testing and installation. To begin with, always work with companies that will leave you a technical report with full details of your borehole such as Thermal Industrial.


This process basically involves assessing the area in order to ascertain the best location to drill your borehole. This will consider the characteristics such as the rock, is it an aquifer aquitard or an aquiclud which will determine the capacity of the rock to hold water as well as to transmit it, which in turn will determine the discharge capacity. A number of devices can be used ascertain these underground conditions. This information is necessary for the driller to know the depth to drill. Please note, there is no set depth for a particular area although water is usually found before 40 metres. An area 50 metres apart from an existing borehole can have totally different conditions.


After siting, the drilling process can begin. There is need for valid siting because a dry hole still needs to be paid for by a client/property owner. A dry hole is not necessarily dry, water be further below the level reached which is usually no more than 40 metres. This challenge can be avoided if a competent siting report has detailed the expected water depth. Usually extra fees are payable after 40 metres, an accurate siting report helps the client budget for that cost. Casing is also another area to consider. This is mainly done to prevent the soil in the hole from collapsing. In most instances full casing is desirable. Pipes fitted must be counted. the size of the pipes which can either be 4 or 6 metre length must also be notes.


This is the determination of the rate of discharge of the hole. This specification is unique to a particular borehole and area. This information is necessary for the accurate determination of the size of pump to be installed. A 12 or 24 hour test can be done and this will determine the actual amount of water available. The size of the pump recommended to be 60% of the determined capacity.


A number of issues need to be considered with respect to installation. Submersible pumps are very sensitive to dry conditions and also the issue of current being received from the power source. One needs to be aware of the duty which is the discharge at a particular elevation difference. If the pump dries the borehole and runs dry this may cause the pump to burn out. There are devices like phase angle relays which can counter this problem. Although that is so, proper sizing of the pump is essential to prevent this. There is also need to have a secure set up ideally using poly pipes which can be easily pulled out. Galvanised pipes require more labour and are hence more secure but more expensive to install. The size of the outlet on the pump should be the basis for the pipework to be used. There is no need for a small outlet discharging into a big size pump as it only increases costs.


The reduction in cost of the plastic tanks has made them readily available. Though that is the case, the major concern is moving the water from the tank/storage unit to the house. In some cases a booster pump can be used or raising the pump may be appropriate. The elevation needs to be noted as this is essential in the pressure required to move the water and it allows water to flow in the pipes and out on the tap, shower etc.


When choosing the booster pump, note the head (elevation) that it can give as well as the maximum discharge it can do so as not to buy a pump that will not give a lower capacity. The increased number of suppliers of these pumps on the market calls for the buyer to pay closer attention. Ideally these specifications should be detailed by a specialist.

Still need more advise? Call us on +263714264299 or Email:

Embarking on an Agribusiness Entrepreneurial Journey in Ghana? Explore these Value Chain Opportunities


I’ve received several requests from fellow young persons with regards which commodity value chains to explore in Ghana when deciding to embark on their agribusiness entrepreneurial journeys.

In this post I’ve provided a brief overview of six value chains with potential for expansion, rural poverty reduction, and job creation. The brief covers cassava (gari), maize, irrigated maize, pineapple, sorghum, and soybean.  These commodities are based on interventions tested and proven by several agricultural development projects implemented in Ghana.

The cassava gari chain is very profitable and has high potential for employment creation in rural areas, in particular for women in processing and young men in outgrower schemes. However, the initial investment barrier is high for women groups; private investors do not have incentives to do environmental impact mitigation investments; market prices are characterized by a strong cyclical component (cycle of 4-5 years) which has an impact on creditworthiness of investors.

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Barclays Bank Zimbabwe to help young farmers


THE Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) is partnering Barclays Bank to create a revolving fund to assist young farmers in the country’s rural areas to grow their agriculture businesses. Beneficiaries of the fund would be drawn from the 31 000 young farmers who are active in the ZFU’s young farmers clubs around the country, says ZFU information officer, Tinashe Kairiza.
Kairiza said the initiative also sought to support youth-oriented micro, small and medium enterprises to develop linkages with large enterprises.

Kairiza, however, would not disclose the amount of seed money to be made available for the assistance under the fund. “The initiative by Barclays Bank to partner ZFU in setting up this fund is commendable because it demonstrates the potential that young people possess in running viable agriculture enterprises if they are adequately supported,” he said.

It is our expectation that our young farmers will take advantage of this fund to grow their business enterprises as well as improve their capability on running their farming activities as viable business enterprises.” The fund, due to be officially launched on January 28, comes at a time when farmers have been failing to access affordable lines of credit from financial institutions.

Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector, which had declined over the past decade mainly because of the limited funding available and poor rainfall patterns, is on the recovery path with output of crops such as maize and tobacco exceeding targets. Maize output in the 2013/14 season reached 1,46 million tonnes from the original target of 1,3 million tonnes while tobacco output surpassed the initial target of 171 million kilogrammes to reach 215,2 million kg.

Agriculture has been identified as one of the sectors which can anchor Zimbabwe’s economic recovery and growth under the five year economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-economic Transformation. — New Ziana

Aricle first appeared in the Financial Gazette.

Skills Training and Innovative Financing for Young Rural Agribusiness Entrepreneurs in Africa

These are interesting thoughts on the intersection of entrepreneurship and agriculture!


Entrepreneurship has become a catch-phrase. It needs lot more focus, an effectively steered supportive framework and lots of financial investments especially in sub-saharan Africa. Entrepreneurial challenges are well known, but governments and their development partners’ commitment and pragmatic will to address the teething issues has always been very limited. The need for SME and entrepreneurship development is especially relevant in Africa, where young and expanding populations require the creation of jobs. Fostering entrepreneurship development especially in the agri-food sector will be key to the economic and social progress and in addressing the bulging youth unemployment challenges in the sub-region.

There is the urgent need for proactively supporting young people in the West African sub-region to identify business opportunities across the agricultural value chain and also re-focusing the mindset of governments, individual and institutional investors to be innovative in their approach to providing financing for young agricultural entrepreneurs.
The bulging African youth population…

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Nigeria: Apply to the Agriculture Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric Yes), Lagos

Great opportunity to getting going in Ag!

Kalu Samuel's Blog

The Lagos State Government in continuation of the 10 Point Agenda to create wealth, ensure food security and alleviate poverty through entrepreneurial training in modern agriculture is seeking applications from suitably qualified candidates for
placement in the third phase of the six months intensive training course, the Agriculture Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric Yes).

The Agric-Yes programme is a 3 phased programme which includes a six month intensive hands-on practical based training in aquaculture, poultry, vegetable farming and bee keeping.
Other highlights of the programme are a six month exposure to agriculture best practices in aquaculture, poultry, vegetable farming and bee keeping in a commercial farm as well as a permanent settlement in Farm estates in various locations in the State.

Requirements for admission into the six months programme include:
* a passion for agriculture
* possession of a recognized
degree and diplomas from universities and polytechnics
* minimum of senior…

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