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Sunday, 04 November 2012 22:47

High-School Learners Tackle Financial Inclusion

By  Desirée Kosciulek
Learners from Greenside High School playing the role of Brazil in the Model UN session at ABSA. Learners from Greenside High School playing the role of Brazil in the Model UN session at ABSA. Photo © Riona Judge McCormack/ SAIIA

In South Africa, 27% of all adults are excluded from the financial system, and across Africa this figure is much worse. Overwhelmingly, these are the poorest and most vulnerable members of society. What can be done about this? Can including people in the banking system help eradicate poverty? Does our banking system need to be reformed?

One of South Africa’s leading banks and sponsor of SAIIA's Model United Nations programme, ABSA, opened its doors on Friday 26 October to some of Gauteng’s brightest high-school learners to debate this issue.

Run by our youth programme, Youth@SAIIA, the debate took the form of a simulated session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The winning learners, from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls and General Smuts High School, were last week given the opportunity to discuss leadership, banking and the future of Africa with Maria Ramos, Group Chief Executive of Absa and Barclays Africa.

img maria ramos and youth at saiia

Image: Maria Ramos, Group Chief Executive: Absa and Barclays Africa and other ABSA staff with learners from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls and General Smuts High School, winners of SAIIA’s special Model UNCTAD on Financial Inclusion at ABSA.

 

"If you are any indication of the calibre of our young people, South Africa's future is assured," Ms. Ramos told the learners over a special lunch engagement on 2 November 2012. 

Photos of the simulated UNCTAD session can be viewed on the Youth@SAIIA Facebook page.