Rural Youth Economic Empowerment Program 2013-2016: Findings from Five Youth-Inclusive Rural Finance Pilot Projects

Examining the successes and shortcomings of financial inclusion programs for rural youth

Offering young people in rural areas the right mix of appropriate and cost- effective financial and non-financial services is essential if rural youth are to improve their livelihoods and create economic opportunities that do not require migrating to urban centers or other countries. Although development agencies have experimented with the provision of financial services to youth in general over the past decade, most experimentation has focused on urban areas, savings services, and financial education. Much remains to be learned on how to develop, deliver, and scale financial services in rural areas.

The Rural Youth Economic Empowerment Program (RYEEP) was developed to respond to this need. Funded by a three -year grant from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the program sought to increase employment and self-employment of young people aged 15-35 in Egypt, Yemen, Morocco and Tunisia, and was implemented by Making Cents International, in partnership with Silatech. RYEEP provided capacity building and technical assistance to local financial service providers (FSP) to pilot five youth-inclusive financial (YFS) and non-financial service (NFS) delivery models to rural youth, and in the process, increase our understanding of rural youth, their demand for financial and non-financial services, and how they can be served sustainably and on a large scale.

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