How multi-sector partnerships are shaping the future of financial education

Carl Manlan, Vice President, Social Impact for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) at Visa. [Standard]

Over the years of fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, we have learned the effectiveness of goal-oriented partnerships.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has given us a sense of urgency to help individuals and households take full advantage of the digital economy.

The continent’s response to health emergencies suggests that we have the tools to move forward in creating a more inclusive society, particularly in the areas of education and capacity development.

In April 2022, a media company mobilized key partners to make on-demand mobile learning accessible to millions of young Africans.

The model is betting on the success of the entertainment platform to inspire young people to take the next step in building their entrepreneurial skills.

This highlights the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships to ensure access to skills and educational messages for African youth. Moreover, the critical importance of experience-based learning and platforms to advance socio-economic transformation.

According to the OECD, young adults have some of the lowest levels of financial literacy. Solving entrepreneurship to create jobs in Africa without financial education is a barrier to human progress on the continent.

This underscores the importance of financial education as an essential tool for individuals and communities to thrive.

Entrepreneurship holds some of the answers to reducing unemployment in Africa, but it must come with the right set of skills and opportunities.

Trace Academia uses partners to deliver a range of skills to millions of young Africans through their media platform. This has reinvented Visa’s Practical Business Skills to provide young people with lifelong transferable skills.

Leveraging the power of technology, both platforms were able to bring financial education content that is changing the way young people interact with entrepreneurial concepts.

Skills development is a step in the right direction as we continue to work with others to create opportunities for young people.

The real impact lies in the continued application of these skills, which will help us address some of the challenges affecting youth and employment on the continent.

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the preference for digital trade and highlighted the opportunity for key stakeholders to come together to collaborate at the intersection of trade and skills.

Research shows that 80 million young people will benefit from the rise of digital trade in Africa by 2030, but this can only be made possible by access to the right skills and relevant platforms.

Financial education begins at home and the role of parents and guardians cannot be overstated. Practical Money Skills is an online resource that provides content for children and youth in grades K-12.

The end in mind is the ability to take control of your finances as an individual or as a household. Thus, the fundamental habit of careful management of available resources in the home builds the framework for financial education and financial consumer protection, which ultimately leads to the inclusion of more communities in the financial system.

As in the health sector, communication and prevention for behavior change are key factors in curbing the spread of disease. In our case, financial education and protection are key to spreading the expertise and leveraging the skills needed for individuals to sustain their livelihoods and for entrepreneurs to expand their trade from local value chains to global value chains.

Access to health care and financial education may, at first, be irrelevant, but the pandemic has exposed the fragility of the current economic system when skills are lacking.

There is evidence to suggest that debt and financial problems have a serious impact on mental health. Thus, people in financial difficulty are at increased risk of mental health problems and poorer mental well-being.

Financial well-being is important for individuals and communities to continue to make a lasting contribution to the continent.

Most of the critical diseases affecting the continent over the past half century have been managed through partnerships.

Today, more than ever, we can draw inspiration from the health sector to make financial education accessible to all, it is a life skill that must be valued.

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