Impacts of Financial Inclusion on Youth Development

Findings from the Ghana YouthSave Experiment on the impact of youth savings accounts

Does saving from childhood establish a sound foundation for youth to contribute to their communities and families as they enter adulthood? This is a primary question of YouthSave, a savings initiative implemented in four developing countries, targeted at youth aged 12 to 18 years from predominantly low-income households.

Part of the larger YouthSave project, the Ghana YouthSave Experiment investigated whether and how youth savings accounts affect financial capability; psychosocial, education, and health outcomes; and economic well-being of Ghanaian youth and their households. The research rigor in the Ghana experiment is unprecedented in resource-limited countries; therefore, offers an opportunity to posit causal relationships between savings and youth development.

This endline report, which comes three years after the baseline report, describes the Ghana experiment and presents experimental findings of YouthSave. The key research questions this report aims to answer is whether the Ghana experiment improved (1) savings patterns and performance for low-income youth; (2) low-income youth’s financial capability; (3) expectations and aspirations; (4) academic performance; and (5) low-income youth’s health attitudes and behaviors, including sexual risk taking. The Ghana experiment’s findings demonstrate that early savings can enable young people to improve their long-term financial and educational outcomes, psychological well-being (e.g., self-efficacy, self-confidence), and future orientation. Equipped with such knowledge and skills, youth can make informed, positive choices in other areas of their lives, including health behaviors.

About this Publication

By Chowa, G., Masa, R., Ansong, D., Despard, M. et al.