The Nigerian youth population is fast emerging as a strong, vibrant community of social, economic, and even political evolution drivers. Hence, inculcating long-term social, economic, and financial sustainability considerations in their financial decisions cannot be over-emphasised. Nume Ekeghe examines how Polaris Bank, Central Bank of Nigeria, and others are pushing the financial inclusion frontiers to promote financial sustainability, deepen savings and investment culture, and financial empowerment among young Nigerians
Nigeria is Africa’s number one country with the highest number of young people. According to the population tracking body Worldometer, about 60 per cent of Nigeria’s estimated 221 million population is made up of persons under the age of 25.
Noteworthy also is that Nigerian youths are increasingly establishing a presence and relevance beyond the traditional domains of sports and entertainment. The expanding influence of youth demographics is rapidly impacting most sectors–consumer goods, retail sector, financial services, fintech and innovation, enterprise, media, and very recently, politics.
For them to continue to play their key roles and much more, however, financial education is a key need that young people must acquire. The reason is that a lack of financial literacy and awareness is responsible for low-level money management skills in individuals, families, and businesses. It also results in poor planning for essentials like children’s education, healthcare, home ownership, savings, investment, and retirement.
The launch of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in 2012, is one among several steps taken by the Federal Government of Nigeria to increase financial education among the citizens, the youths inclusive. The target of the NFIS policy is to reduce the number of unbanked and underserved citizens by 95 per cent, by 2024.
With the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) mainstreaming financial inclusion/financial education into their corporate social initiatives, the NFIS has continued to garner the needed attention among banks in Nigeria.
Over the years, Polaris Bank in particular as a youth-friendly brand has continued to accord recognition to the rising power and limitless potential of the youth segment by rolling out numerous initiatives that empower young people in the country to fulfill their dreams and aspirations, as well as contribute significantly to national development.
Thus, the Bank used the occasion of the commemoration of the 2023 Global Money Week (GMW), held from Monday, March 20 to Sunday, March 26, 2023, to reaffirm its commitment to the Nigerian youth by deepening its financial advocacy role of educating and inculcating in young Nigerians the culture of savings, investment, and financial awareness.
In line with this year’s GMW theme, ‘Plan Your Money, Plant Your Future’, Polaris Bank carried out financial literacy sensitisation campaign in select 37 schools across the six geographical zones, as well as in all its branches countrywide.
Employees of the bank visited schools to educate teens and students on financial literacy. The interactive sessions allowed the young learners to gain knowledge and understanding of topics such as: how money works, how someone can earn or make money as well as money management, including – planning and budgeting – and how to invest money, amongst others.
Polaris Bank, in partnership with the CBN and programme execution partner, Junior Achievement of Nigeria (JAN), reached and educated over 4,000 students in 37 schools across Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Similarly, senior officials of the bank during the school visit interacted with students and teachers to commemorate the GMW and donated books to the libraries of all the 37 schools they visited.
Global Money Week – a financial literacy sensitisation campaign is an annual programme organised worldwide to raise awareness and sensitise students on the need to be financially independent and empowered. This year’s theme focused on sustainability and raising awareness of the implications of dual financial behaviour not only on one’s financial future but also on the environment and society.
The theme also aimed to inspire young people to develop and cultivate positive behaviour on sustainable finance, and more broadly, on the importance of long-term social, economic, and financial sustainability considerations in financial decisions. The theme was focused on prompting young people to be forward-looking and to have a broad view of the environment and society in their financial decisions.
Since being established in 2012, the Global Money Week campaign has reached over 53 million children and young people in 176 countries worldwide.
Polaris Bank has also created a wide range of products and solutions that can promote savings and investment culture. These include interest-yielding instruments such as Polaris Fixed Deposit, Long-tenured Fixed Deposit, or Priority Fixed Deposit.
It also encourages its customers–old and new – to buy government investment instruments such as Treasury Bills, bonds, and debentures because of a good yield.
Through its numerous CSR and social investment initiatives, Polaris Bank, in addition to rolling out innovative banking products and services for customers across different strata, has demonstrated a commitment to enhancing the quality of life for Nigerians outside of its traditional function of providing financial services.
Polaris Bank is a future-determining bank redefining banking products and services that meet the needs of individuals and businesses. As a digitally-enabled bank focused on providing superior financial solutions and products to its customers across sectors with industry-specific and individual needs, the bank was adjudged Digital Bank of the Year in 2021 and 2022.