Increasing access to finance for youth


Since 2010, UNCDF has been actively working to increase youth financial inclusion by supporting the development of affordable, relevant and accessible financial products for youth coupled with complementary non-financial services in LDCs. UNCDF tested its approach by launching YouthStart Pilot Programme, which more than tripled the original target of providing A2F to 200,000 youth. UNCDF is now expanding this approach to LDC’s in Africa and Asia with the objective to increase the number of youth (in particular young woman, youth living in rural areas and out-of-school) engaged in entrepreneurship, decent employment, school, or further education and training.


United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) United Nations system entity

Technical assistance, expertise and implementation; Policy, advocacy and convening power; Financial and/or in-kind contribution

Sustainable Development Goals & targets

  • 8.5 By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value
  • 8.6 By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training
  • 8.10 Strengthen the capacity of domestic financial institutions to encourage and expand access to banking, insurance and financial services for all

Achievement At Glance

To date, UNCDF has partnered with three financial institutions and one mobile money operator to develop financial services for youth. Each of these institutions has: received training in conducting market research for youth financial services using human-centred design approaches resulting in the development of a research report; developed four savings products for youth; and opened accounts for close to 400 youth. In addition to this, UNCDF has supported the development of a financial education app for each of these partners to be deployed before the end of the year.

UNCDF has focused its efforts in building the capacity of the partners to enable them to develop products for youth.


UNCDF will provide integrated financial (e.g. savings, loans, insurance, payments, etc.) and non-financial services (e.g. financial education on savings or debt management) to at least 800,000 youth in LDCs, to either secure decent work or start/expand their own business. It will do this through the implementation of the following 4 strategies: 1. Improve coordinated action of youth serving organizations, NGOs working with youth and for youth, and FSPs to design and deliver financial and non-financial products and services for youth in ways that complement each other; 2. Promote a bundle of services that will impact youth in a direct and indirect manner; 3. Promote a bundle of services that motivate youth to seize economic opportunities in sectors with the greatest potential (e.g. agriculture, house hold enterprises, digital jobs); 4. Partner with others to improve policies and regulations to facilitate youth transitions to economic independence. In parallel, UNCDF is also piloting alternative and innovative approaches with governments and local partners that could be crucial to promote youth employment and inclusion in LDCs.

Deliverables and links to SDG targets

  • Progress: 390 out of 800000 young people supported through entrepreneurship training, advisory services, access to markets or access to finance

    8.10 Strengthen the capacity of domestic financial institutions to encourage and expand access to banking, insurance and financial services for all

    Increased access to integrated financial and nonfinancial services for 800k youth; complementary integrated services for at least 400k youth

    BY: Dec 2022






young people to benefit directly from this commitment

Target: Only young people 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-35

  • Young people in rural areas
  • Young women
  • Low-income individuals
  • Young people with low levels of education and/or drop-outs


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