Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) was once again leading the discussion on the youth segment at the annual conference of its strategic partner – at the 19th Microfinance Centre Conference that took place 23-24 June 2016 in Tirana, Albania.
CYFI Regional Advisor Karina Avakyan moderated an interactive panel “Empowering youth with access to finance, knowledge and skills” that aimed to present and discuss different approaches and experiences on how to strengthen the link between youth and the financial sector and enable thereby youth entrepreneurship, business creation and expansion.
The discussion was underpinned by presentation of the results of a recent study on the level of financial literacy and financial behaviour and attitudes of youth in 7 countries of the Balkan region, conducted by the European Fund for South-Eastern Europe - Development Facility (EFSE DF) and CYFI. The panellists included representatives of EFSE-DF, Mozaik Foundation (Bosnia & Herzegovina), ADIE (France) and a member of Ye! community – a young entrepreneur that has started a social enterprise in Albania Pezana Rexha.
The panelists shared various barriers that young entrepreneurs face in Europe, both in terms of access to finance as well as non-financial challenges such as lack of relevant skills, knowkedge, networks etc. The panel shared their unique experiences and expertise of their organizations in supporting the creation of youth enterprises, and Pezana has enriched the discussion by sharing the perspective of the persons who has faced many of those challenges personally. The lively discussion has drawn several solutions and ways to mitigate those challenges, and introduced several ways for microfinance institutions to get involved and start new programs in this field.
The annual MFC conference “Microfinance in the cloud” was a great success, and it brought together participants from all over ECA region to discuss the challenges and opportunities that microfinance sector is facing in the region. CYFI would like to thank EFSE DF and MFC for inviting to participate in this discussion, and is looking forward to continue the collaboration on stronger putting youth on the radar of the sector in the region.