Uganda: Banks Told to Promote Youth Entrepreneurship

Kampala — For banks to deepen financial inclusion and encourage entrepreneurship among the youth, they need to critically understand that particular target audience, the managing director, Centenary Bank has said.

While presenting a paper on enhancing banking systems that support youth entrepreneurship and development at the recent 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers’ Meeting at Munyonyo, Mr Fabian Kasi, also the chairman of the Uganda Bankers’ Association, said: “Financial institutions must study and understand the unique needs and challenges of the youth to be able to design appropriate products and services that will empower the youth, make them appreciate the banking space and provide financing.”

According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), the world’s foremost study of entrepreneurship, while almost 10 per cent of Ugandans started a business in 2015, a fifth of individuals aged 18 to 64 have also discontinued a business in the past year, partly because of limited or no financing.

Major challenges

GEM points it out that young entrepreneurs in particular have “generally low” growth expectations; few innovate or vary product lines and creating an additional business is more common than expanding an existing one.

Mr Kasi said banks have also developed partnerships with various private and public organisations to boost financial literacy as well as extend loan facilities to the youth to enable them improve their livelihoods.

“In 2012, Centenary Bank was among the banks that government selected to partner with Kampala Capital City Authority to extend loans at subsidised rates to the youth under the Youth Venture Capital Fund and since then the bank has disbursed $20 million in form of loans to more than 13,000 youth,” he said.

The government’s Youth Venture Capital Fund offers individuals loans at 15 per cent on up to Shs25m payable over three years. The programme targets youth aged 18 to 30 years.

The meeting, whose theme was; Resourcing and Financing Youth Development; Empowering Young People, brought together more than 200 senior government representatives from the 52 Commonwealth countries.

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