KCB, Visa empower youth on finance

January 22, 2009

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 22 –  Kenya Commercial Bank and Visa International have launched a series of financial literacy workshops aimed at empowering the youth to make informed decisions about their personal finances.

The workshops will be conducted through a period of three months at a cost of Sh780,000 starting with pilot projects in Nairobi, Daystar and Strathmore Universities.

KCB Chief Executive Martin Oduor-Otieno said that the initiative was a very important one because the youth form 60 percent of the entire population.

“The first session of the pilot programme will start this (Thursday) afternoon at the University of Nairobi and will comprise of recorded drama and expert presentations,” Mr Oduor-Otieno said.

He explained that upon successful piloting of the programme, the two institutions would expand their reach to other universities across Kenya, further noting that KCB through its foundation is committed to supporting the development of entrepreneurship, and will spend over Sh13 million to support this.

Meanwhile, Visa International General Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa Charles Niehaus said a recent study carried out by Consumer Insight showed that young people in Kenya spend Sh9 billion a year, yet only eight percent have bank accounts.

“These statistics reveal an enormous number of un-banked people with massive spending power but who lack the most powerful financial literacy tool of all – knowledge,” he intimated.

Niehaus revealed that the program would among other things educate the youth on the social and economic benefits of being in the banking system, as well as the perks of cards and other forms of electronic payment.

“Imagine if these youth were empowered with the tools and information to make sound financial decisions and plan for the future,” he stated.

“Visa will push electronic payment because we have done a lot of research and there is proof that electronic payments reduce the grey economy, increase tax recoveries, and bring more people into the banking system. There is a multiplier effect which actually grows the economy,” Mr Nieuhas said. 

He observed that the strongest financial tool at the moment is knowledge, and if Visa could help teach young people how to manage their finances as well as the benefits and responsibilities that come with banking and owning Visa cards, then the achievement is halfway done.  

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