Government will continue to enhance the resource base of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) and the Youth Enterprise Support (YES), to enable them assist more people, President John Dramani Mahama has said.
He said government recognizes the importance of financial access, inclusion and literacy as the cornerstones for economic growth and development.
President Mahama said this on Tuesday in Accra in a speech read on his behalf by Nana Oye Lithur, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, at the opening ceremony of the Fourth Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting for Africa.
The two-day conference on the theme: “Advancing Youth Economic Empowerment for Inclusive Growth”, brought together African financial experts as well as other key stakeholders to work towards establishing regional and national-level strategies to address issues of financial education and entrepreneurship among the youth.
It was organised by Child and Youth International in collaboration with MASLOC and YES with support from CFAO Motors, National Investment Bank, HFC Bank, the Graphic Group of Communications and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation.
President Mahama said in order to eliminate poverty in the country, the government is employing social protection as a key tool to tackle extreme poverty.
He said the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme is currently empowering more than 144,000 households to come out of extreme poverty.
President Mahama said the role of financial inclusion in promoting youth economic empowerment is very important and the failure to ensure that many more young people have access to financial services might indirectly perpetuate poverty.
“We must develop tailor made products for our youth to support young entrepreneurs to grow their businesses; since our public sectors alone, cannot absorb all graduates,” he said.
President Mahama said government in consultation with other stakeholders, is also developing a financial inclusion strategy as a means of deepening financial inclusiveness across the financial sector.
Mrs Sedina Tamakloe Attionu, the Chief Executive Officer, MASLOC, said: “We need to achieve youth-led sustainable development by creating viable livelihoods and opportunities for youth to contribute to inclusive economic development.
She said this should be done to avert the dangers of youth bulge, lack of access to entrepreneurial skills training and development and funding opportunities for young entrepreneurs.
Mrs Helga Boadi, the Chief Executive Officer of YES, urged the youth to take advantage of the services her organisation provides.
Ms Jeroo Billimoria, the Managing Director, Child and Youth Finance International, the Netherlands, called for the promotion of banking habits among children and the youth.
MASLOC is a microfinance apex body responsible for implementing the government’s microfinance programmes targeted at reducing poverty, creating jobs and wealth.
YES is an initiative designed to help Ghana’s young and innovative population turn great ideas into thriving business enterprises. GNA