Opportunity Bank sends Malawi youth to Netherlands finance summit

Two young customers of Opportunity Bank have been sent to Netherlands to represent Malawi at the first Child and Youth Finance International summit billed “Reshaping the future of Finance.”

The two are Grey Katsilizeni, 23 who is from rural Lilongwe area of Nambuma. He is involved in buying and selling of crop produce. The other is Agnes Kwelete, a 17 Year old girl from Mulanje, in Form 3 at Chisitu Community Day Secondary School.

The summit brings senior-level policy-makers, experts from the public, private and civil society sectors as well as children and youth on the topics of financial inclusion and Child-Finance education for children and youth.

Opportunity Bank kiosk

According to the bank’s new Chief Executive Officer David Smith, the two were selected by the bank to represent Malawi as one way of honouring among many the youth who are doing business with Opportunity Bank.

He said the criteria used to select youth clients was based on deposit turnover MK20,000 per month, a regular saver and those that comes from a rural setting.

The two were selected by the Bank after it received a grant from United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).

He said UNCDF in conjunction with Opportunity Bank Malawi aims to include youths in its financial services because the youths have been sidelined for a long time in development issues and yet they make up almost 50% of the population of Malawi.

“The summit theme is dedicating issues of financial inclusion and financial education for children and youth,” he said.

Opportunity Bank is a commercial microfinance bank which targets the economically active but marginalized Malawians living in underserved areas including semi urban areas.

In order to include the youth in financial inclusion the bank introduced Masomphenya (Vision) Account, Chiyambi (First Entrepreneur step) group loan and Tiwoloke (Cross-over) Individual loan were introduced for the youths aged between 18 and24 years in Malawi.

Zachuma (Financial) literacy modules followed in early March 2012 for the youth aged between 12 and 24 years to add more value to these youth’s financial products.

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