- The MasterCard Foundation and Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) have approved US $5 million programme to create inclusive financial services and education for 50,000 youth in Morocco and Egypt for the period of five years.
The programme called 'Youth Invest' is designed to enable microfinance institutions to develop and test innovative products for youth ranging between 15 and 24 years especially those living in rural areas.
The programme will also provide youth-specific services, including financial and business-related training to develop youth entrepreneurship skills in the two countries.
"Until recently, microfinance institutions have not focused on poor youth, in part due to the perception of risks associated with serving young people who may lack collateral or work experience," MasterCard statement said.
President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation Reeta Roysaid said the programme will create new insights about the financial needs of youth and new ways to support young entrepreneurs.
"We are pleased to work with MEDA, which has been a pioneer in economic development, and is now expanding the frontiers of youth microfinance," the President said.
MEDA will partner with leading microfinance institutions in both countries to study the needs of employed as well as unemployed youth, and to design appropriate financial products, such as savings for education or loans to start a small business, according to the statement.
"The area of financial services for youth is in its infancy. The MasterCard Foundation and MEDA agree that by taking a youth-centered view and working with leading microfinance institutions, we will create a new standard for financial services to youth, which we can share with the industry," said Allan Sauder, President of MEDA.
Youth Invest will also enable MEDA to document findings and build a business case encouraging microfinance institutions in other countries to view youth as an attractive client population.
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