Business

GMW2021: Boosting youths’ financial awareness for devt

The annual celebration of the Global Money Week (GMW) is in line with efforts by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure that the country’s youths are empowered to contribute to economic development, writes TONY CHUKWUNYEM

 

Fixed for March 22 to 28, 2021 and themed: “Take care of yourself, take care of your money,” the Global Money Week 2021(GMW2021) was launched digitally two days ago, with Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, joined the Secretary- General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Mr. Angel Gurría, to highlight the importance of financial education for young people, especially in these challenging times of COVID-19 crisis.

 

Developed by the Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) in 2012, GMW, which is now organised by the OECD International Network on Financial Education (OECD/INFE), according to its promoters, is an annual financial awareness campaign created to inspire children and young people to learn about money matters, livelihoods and entrepreneurship.

 

Vision

As the event’s promoters explained in a statement posted on their website: “Why is it important to teach children and youth about money matters from a young age? The earlier children learn about money, savings and investment, the better they manage their personal finances throughout their lives.

 

 

These skills help children and youth to understand the difference between earning, saving and spending, making them better money managers, who are able to budget and have healthier money habits.

 

It also helps children understand how to manage money at an early age and teaches them to make better financial decisions regarding student loans, housing, first car, travel and other expenses.”

 

They further stated: “What is the goal of GMW? We believe that today’s children and youth should become empowered economic citizens, capable of understanding the importance of saving, and are equipped with the skills to be employed and create their own livelihoods. We want young people to learn to manage their money wisely.

 

By empowering children and youth, we can help them transfer their    knowledge to their families and to entire communities. GMW is a time when the whole world can celebrate and engage in these important topics.”

 

Over the years, GMWs have come to be associated with periods when national organisations such as government bodies, ministries, financial institutions, central banks, not-for-profit and youth organisations, local businesses, universities, schools and others collaborate to organise different types of activities for children and youth to create excitement around the subject of learning how to earn and save money.

 

Usually, during the week set aside for the celebration, there will be visits by young people and youths to banks, parliaments, central banks, stock exchanges, currency exchanges, money museums, local businesses and global corporate companies.

 

Other activities that are also organised during the period include financial workshops and sessions, financial education fairs, open market events, financial literacy rallies, financial education games and savings competitions, among others. According to its promoters, the last editions of GMW have positively impacted the lives of 32 million children and youth in 174 countries worldwide.

 

Highlighting the significance of this year’s edition of the event against the background of COVID- 19 crisis, the promoters said: “It is now more important and relevant than ever to continue and enhance conversations with children and young people around money issues so that they can feel confident in their skills and knowledge about managing financial matters.

 

“We encourage everyone to be active during GMW, but please make sure to respect the national and local safety guidelines related to COVID-19. Also, prioritise digital interaction when in person activities are not recommended.”

 

CBN’s role

 

As it has done in previous years, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is leading GMW2021 celebrations in the country. Last Tuesday, the apex bank announced a social media challenge on GMW2021 theme: “Take care of yourself, take care of your money,” where youths, between ages 18 and 35 can showcase their talents, artworks and skills.

 

In a statement, the apex bank said that eligible participants might win electronics gadgets, including an Apple MacBook Pro, HP Pavilion x360 and Apple iPad Pro. “Showcase your talents, artworks and skills by posting a 120 seconds video or a photo on how you can Take Care of Yourself and Take Care of Your Money,”

 

CBN said in the statement, adding that to take part, interested individuals can log on to its website. It also stated that entrants must have genuine social media account(s) such as Instagram,

 

Twitter and must follow all CBN social media handles, namely: Facebook: @cenbankng, Instagram: @centralbankng lso and Twitter: @cenbank. CBN also said that only the top 10 entries will be shortlisted and invited for the grand finale, which would take place via Zoom on the 30th of March.

 

New Telegraph gathered that other events planned to celebrate the GBW2021 included field tour to CBN’s currency museum, school mentoring programme and radio podcast. Prior to the outbreak of COVID- 19, GMW activities in the country also included excursions to deposit money banks (DMBs)/ microfinance banks (MFBs), quiz, debate & school mentoring programme,

 

‘”Global Money Walk & Market Storm,” sensitization for corps members on the campaign and financial literacy. For instance, in 2019, Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) – the financial sector development organisation that promotes inclusive finance in Nigeria, with the support of CBN, participated in GMW 2019. In a report on its participation, EFInA said it channeled more effort to its focus areas: North, women and youth and incorporated senior secondary school students.

 

It stated: “The campaign held in two northern states: Kano & Gombe. The choice of these state    was premised on the outcome of the EFInA Access to Financial Services (A2F) 2018 survey findings, which revealed that Kano State in North West and Gombe State in North East have the highest exclusion rates at 75.2 per cent and 76.1 per cent respectively.

 

“Activities ran concurrently in both states and were targeted at In-School: senior secondary school students (SS3) and Out of School: corps members, cooperatives/ associations: market women, transporters, and farmers.”

 

The development organisation further said: “The Global Money Week event provided a platform to communicate the benefits of financial literacy; inculcate savings and financial management culture; encourage the uptake of financial products and services and ensure that beneficiaries are better equipped to make optimal choices in the use of financial products.”

 

Interestingly, it noted: “The exercise and feedback revealed that while beneficiaries were receptive and eager to learn about how to improve their finances, a lot more work is required from stakeholders to educate the excluded population as many seem to be lacking adequate knowledge of financial management.

 

It also revealed that cultural and religious factors are major inhibitors to northern Nigerian women being financially included and more likely to rely only on informal financial services. Nevertheless, the campaign served as a stepping stone to driving financial inclusion through financial literacy.”

Given that the country has a disturbingly high youth unemployment rate, CBN and DMBs, in addition to their efforts to boost financial awareness among youths, have also launched some intervention schemes aimed at curbing youth unemployment in the country. Specifically, in 2019, CBN, in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee, developed a Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI) to help boost job creation among the youths.

 

The initiative has four pillars: Fashion, information technology, movie and music. Under the scheme, a software engineering student could get a loan of up to N3 million, while those in the movie production business could access maximum loan of N30 million, with N500 million for movie distribution business.

 

The loan amounts, which had interest rate of nine per cent (later reduced to five per cent due to COVID-19 crisis) cover rental/ service fees for fashion and information technology business, training fees, equipment fees, and rental/service fees for music business.

 

Conclusion

 

Even if as critics argue that it would require more than seminars and training for a one week period to adequately empower the country’s youths, the general view among industry watchers is that the youths would always be grateful for the knowledge they acquire through the GMWs.

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