Financial institutions should do more to help bring more people, especially youth and children, into the formal banking sector to enhance savings and financial inclusion.
Norbert Mwanangu, the I&M Bank Rwanda head of retail, said young people are the future of the country and banking sector in particular, making it essential to cultivate a savings culture among them. This, he added, will increase financial inclusion and boost the sector’s deposits.
Mwanangu made the remarks as the bank hosted a group of 60 students from Nu Vision High School on Tuesday to learn about banking and the importance of developing a savings culture as part of activities to mark this year’s Global Money Week. During the visit, the students were given a lecture on the “concept of savings”, and why it is crucial to save at an early age.
The annual Global Money Week is a global movement aimed at raising awareness about the importance of financial education and financial inclusion for children and youth.
It started on March 27 and ends on April 2. Mwanangu said the bank would conduct outreaches to schools and communities, teaching them about the role of savings and general financial awareness, particularly promoting savings, investment and financial literacy.
“We want to encourage Rwandans to save besides promoting financial literacy. We are visiting schools and hosting students to teach them about money matters, the role of savings, and other financial awareness initiatives,” he said.
This year’s Global Money Week is under the theme, “Learn. Save. Earn” and features a series of educational programmes to raise awareness and help improve the ability of young people to make sound decisions when it comes to financial matters.
Meanwhile, George Ssenfuka, an economics teacher at Nu Vision High School in Rusororo sector in Kicukiro District, urged banks to partner with schools to promote savings culture and financial literacy among students and young people in general, saying they play a big role in growing the financial sector.
“This will expose them to different issues related to banking, and encourage them to save and safeguard their future. Once the young people understand how critical saving is, it will be easier for them to educate others. Therefore, banks should collaborate with schools to create outreach programmes that encourage financial literacy, savings and investment,” he said.
I&M Bank has over 30,000 savings account holders, and Rwanda had 5.5 million accounts shared among banks and MFIs as of December 2016.