Launch of international financial literacy campaign highlights current economic challenges for young people in South Africa.

Global Money Week (GMW) was officially launched on Monday 22 March with an event live streamed from Paris featuring a high-level panel of global leaders and public authorities providing key insights on how to advance financial literacy and education in the current challenging environment.

Money Smart Week South Africa, the country’s largest co-ordinated financial literacy campaign which also launched on the same day coincides with Global Money Week, an annual financial awareness campaign built to inspire children and young people to learn about money matters, livelihoods and entrepreneurship. Since its launch in 2012, GMW has reached more than 40-million children and youth in 175 countries worldwide.

At the launch, the panel included Angel Gurria, Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Magda Bianco, Head of Consumer Protection and Financial Education Department, Bank of Italy as well as Mr Olano Makhubela, Acting Commissioner of the South African Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA).

Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands also featured on the panel in her capacity as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA).

Queen Máxima is also Honorary Patron of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion.

When asked what some of the key financial challenges of the pandemic are for young people in South Africa, Mr Olano Makhubela says that the biggest challenge currently is that of unemployment.

This situation was re-iterated by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his recent address to the nation when he said that COVID-19 has exacerbated the problems that young South Africans face and that youth unemployment is the country’s “greatest challenge”.

“How do we help our youth who are innovative to start a business to navigate these difficult times?” Mr Makhubela asked when addressing the international delegation at yesterday’s launch event.

He spoke about the need to evolve our current financial education models, to provide more practical financial guidance to equip and empower our youth to start and manage their own business during difficult circumstances.

In officially launching Money Smart Week South Africa, Mr Makhubela said that financial literacy is essential to the development and growth of our nation, and particularly, of our youth. “For consumers to be able to understand and negotiate the financial landscape, manage risks effectively and avoid financial pitfalls, especially during these difficult times, they require access to information and education,” he says, explaining that financial education campaigns such as Money Smart Week South Africa exist to provide the know-how to improve the ability of consumers to make sound and informed financial decisions.

Money Smart Week South Africa 2021, which ran from 22-28 March, included over 80 participants ranging from training institutions, government departments, corporations, regulatory authorities and organisations bringing financial education to South African consumers. Most of these events were live streamed on the Money Smart Week South Africa website, which was been zero rated for the entire week. There was also a national educational radio campaign being broadcast as well as a range of small physical events.

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