Dr. Asare Akuffo, Managing Director of HFC Bank Limited, says the bank is fully committed to developing and rolling out youth-friendly saving products, in order to promote financial inclusiveness, especially for the poor and vulnerable youth in Ghana.

HFC Bank
HFC Bank

Speaking at the final multi-stakeholder conference on the Youth Save project, Dr. Akuffo noted that the initiative had given the bank the opportunity to target a previously untapped youth market in Ghana.

He commended the consortium for their ?unrelenting commitment to establishing youth-friendly savings products, as a tool for youth development and financial inclusion in developing countries?.

?My bank is undeniably honoured to be part of an initiative which ultimately seeks to create an opportunity to educate and motivate the youth of Ghana to cultivate the important habit of saving money,? he stated.

The Youth Save Project is a five-year project implemented in four developing countries, including Ghana, by the Youth Save Consortium and supported by the Master Card Foundation.

According to him, a third of the global population was under 19 years, with about 90 percent of such young people living in developing countries.

?Ghana has a relatively large young population with over 55 percent of the population below 25 years. Evidently there are more youth than ever who need support, tools and opportunities to become productive, contributing adults.?

?Additionally, a growing number of initiatives worldwide are indicating that even poor and vulnerable youth can accumulate savings and assets when the right tools and institutions are made available,? he said.

Dr. Akuffo said HFC bank had made significant strides in coordinating resources to tackle the important task of improving financial inclusion and literacy among the youth, by promoting participation in, and access to financial services through the development of the HFC ‘Anidaso’ Account; a savings account for youth between 12 and 18 years.

He noted that the word ?Anidaso? meant ?hope? and symbolized HFC?s commitment to assisting young people in accumulating funds to secure a bright future, saying, ?the bank believes that giving young people the tools to accumulate savings opens up economic opportunities, enables them fund future education, establish more businesses and improve their self esteem and future orientation.?

The account was the first custodial account to be offered in Ghana, and gave in-school and out-of-school youth between 12 and 18 years, the chance to open their own account under the supervision of a trusted adult.

It recorded about 15,000 accounts between May 2012 and May 2014, with the largest group of account holders between 13 and 15 years.

He gave the assurance that although young people below the age of 18 years were required to present an adult as a co-signatory to open and operate an account, ‘Anidaso; prevents the adult from accessing the account without the knowledge and consent of the youth account holder, a provision which reassured youth about the safety of their savings.

He, however, recommended that the Central Bank considered relaxing the age at which an individual could own and run a savings account, as greater flexibility in the regulatory policies would facilitate greater youth financial participation.

?HFC Bank will continue to offer out the ‘Anidaso’ Account, and consider developing complementary products with features clearly defined and tailored to the different developmental stages of the youth,? he addded.

GNA

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