Ghana has a formal financial sector comprised of 28 registered banks along with an active microfinance network, rural banking segment, and informal sector involving susu collectors. Despite the number of banks in Ghana, 80 percent of the adult population lacks access to any financial services such as savings, loans and insurance investment. In order to encourage financial inclusion, the Bank of Ghana, the country’s regulatory body, has made strides to promote branchless banking, financial literacy and consumer protection. With financial inclusion and youth development increasing in importance, recently the Government of Ghana put into effect the National Youth Policy, creating the National Youth Authority, Initially the National Youth Council. The Council promotes youth development and enables participation through existing youth associations by addressing health issues, unemployment, and limited education and training opportunities.
Financial Partner: HFC Bank Ghana Ltd
Established as a wholly owned subsidiary company, Home Finance Investment Fund Limited (HFIF), HFIF later became HFC and in 2003 was issued a Universal Banking License by the Bank of Ghana. HFC offers a full range of retail banking, investment products and services including various deposit accounts; housing, education, and consumer loans; and Ghana’s first mutual fund. In addition to diversifying its product offerings, HFC has expanded down the socio-economic ladder with Boafo Microfinance Services, a joint venture with NGO, CHF International. A microfinance service company, Boafo operates out of HFC’s branches but utilizes delivery channels appropriate for low-income clients, including roving deposit (susu) collectors. HFC currently has 22 branches in seven of Ghana’s 10 regions, and plans by the end of 2010 to have a branch on the campus of every tertiary educational institution in the country. For this market, HFC is currently offering the Students Plus savings account, a zero-balance, ATM-equipped savings account designed for use in conjunction with an educational loan. Upon the student’s graduation, this account is eligible for automatic conversion into a Life Starter account, HFC’s deposit product for young working adults. These products start high school students on the habit of saving and banking. To learn more about HFC visit: www.hfcbank.com.gh.
Research Partner: Institute of Statistical, Social, and Economic Research (ISSER)
A semi-autonomous institute within the Faculty of Social Studies at the University of Ghana, ISSER is one of the nation’s leading research institutions in social and economic development. It has conducted nationwide studies for the government of Ghana, the United Nations, and the World Bank. Faculty experience includes conducting field experiments (both randomized and quasi-experimental), analyzing data and producing comprehensive reports, and publishing in top quality journals. ISSER researchers have been involved in research and consultancy projects on economic growth, financial and monetary policy, trade and exchange rate policy, household consumption behavior and patterns, poverty, gender, and livelihoods, among others. Researchers at ISSER have also published savings and banking-related publications. For YouthSave, ISSER, with the support of the Center for Social Development, will design and conduct an experimental impact study to produce robust data on the economic, psychological, social, and health related effects of youth savings on young people and their households. To learn more about ISSER visit: www.isser.edu.
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