ShoreBank International Vice President Jesse Fripp, in his remarks to the opening plenary of the 3rd day of the Global Youth Economic Opportunities Conference, hosted by Making Cents on September 13th, emphasized the critical need for partnerships, business model innovation, and empowerment of youth as economic drivers in order to realize the promise of mobile and branchless banking as a means to achieve financial inclusion. “Youth are leading the way in adoption, innovation, and creativity – we, the private sector and development practitioners must catch up. As emerging market technology and bandwidth access converges into a low-cost utility service reality in coming years, many, many more on-ramps will open up to enable a wide range of innovative market linkages,” Fripp commented.
Dr. Phillip Auerswald, Senior Fellow at the Kauffman Foundation, moderated the “Use of Technology for Linking Youth to Markets: Elixir or Achilles Heel?” plenary panel, which – in addition to Fripp - included Janet Longmore, CEO of Digital Opportunities Trust. In a dynamic panel format, Dr. Auerswald invited several members of the audience to rotate on to the stage to share insights and updates on a wide range of innovations.
Later in the day, SBI Senior Lead for ADC Implementation, Khurram Sikander, served as Discussant for a workshop session, “Counting on Technology to Deliver Financial Services to Youth: Lessons and Applications.” Panelists included Samuel Ndungu of Equity Bank (Kenya), Amelia Kukliwcz of Freedom from Hunger (Ecuador), and Jean Kabongo of FINCA (DRC). After a lively panel and audience exchange, Khurram summed up the session: "I believe there is a tremendous opportunity to work with tech savvy youth by exposing them to financial services at an early age. This will not only educate the youth on how to better manage money or financial habits but may result in innovation that changes how we bank."
Presentations for both sessions can be found at the links below: