Skip to main content

Chowa, G. | Masa, R. | Osei-Akoto, I.
2012 | Colombia, Ghana, Kenya, and Nepal

Youth in the Ghana Experiment: Characteristics and living conditions (YouthSave Research Brief 12-35)

Financial Inclusion

If provided an opportunity to save via formal financial services, will youth participate? This is one of the fundamental questions being asked by YouthSave, a four-country study targeted for young people ages 12 to 18 living predominantly in low-income households. Youth do save informally and, given an opportunity, may also participate in formal banking services (UNCDF, 2011). However, such opportunities are minimal. On the other hand, the limited research available suggests that financial inclusion has important youth development effects and deserves greater study (Chowa & Ansong, 2010; Deshpande & Zimmerman, 2010; Elliott, 2012; Scanlon & Adams, 2009; Ssewamala & Ismayilova, 2009). YouthSave is a pioneering project designed to increase savings and development among low-income youth in Colombia, Ghana, Kenya, and Nepal. The goals of YouthSave research are to measure the uptake, savings outcomes, experiences, and impacts of Youth Savings Accounts (YSAs) on clients and financial institutions.

In Ghana, a rigorous research design that includes a control group, with quantitative and qualitative evidence, has been implemented to assess the impact of savings accounts on youth development and asset accumulation.

This brief focuses on the individual, social, and economic characteristics of youth and their families in the Ghana Experiment. Understanding these characteristics will help us examine how they influence the uptake of savings accounts and savings outcomes. Little is known about how youth and family characteristics influence saving behaviors of youth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Research in YouthSave is anticipated to fill some of these gaps.

Chowa, G., Masa, R., & Osei-Akoto, I. (2012). Youth in the Ghana Experiment: Characteristics and living conditions (YouthSave Research Brief 12-35). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.