Research and experience to date suggest that savings accounts for low-income youth may be a high-leverage tool to achieve both youth development and financial inclusion objectives. This potential has led a variety of stakeholders to invest in youth savings products, programs, policies around the world. However, there is limited evidence of whether these initiatives are fulfilling either type of development potential, or what types of youth savings initiatives might potentially achieve both. More experimentation and research on these questions are needed to optimize public and private investment in this area.
This paper explores the potential of youth savings accounts (YSAs) as an intervention at the nexus of youth development and financial inclusion by reviewing: 1. Current evidence on the potential effects of YSAs on these two development goals; 2. Current trends in the state of practice on YSAs in developing countries, drawing out any implications for achieving these goals; and 3. What information is still needed before we can fully understand whether and how YSAs could actually achieve this dual potential?