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Youth KYC would open up financial inclusion to enterprising young Tanzanians

Youth KYC would open up financial inclusion to enterprising young Tanzanians

Financial Sector Deepening Trust (FSDT) — a financial services organization in Tanzania — is calling on authorities to derive alternative methods of digital identity verification for enterprising Tanzanian youths who cannot access financial services because of their age or institutional limitations.

Two FSDT staff, in an article published by The Citizen, make a strong argument on this issue saying the putting in place of an alternative for youth know your customer (KYC) checks will enable those below the age of 18 be able to access banking and other financial services that can help improve their livelihoods.

In Tanzania, one can only have a national identification number at 18 years of age. Yet, there are said to be many young people below this threshold who are already into business, but cannot expand their businesses because of limitations of lack of proof of ID, the writers regret.

To highlight this difficulty, the article cites the case of 16-year-old Neema who dropped out of school and engaged in business which is said to have grown over a short period of time. But she is forced to save all the profit she makes using a local method at home because she is not qualified, by virtue of her age, to open a bank account or sign up for any available digital wallet.

The need to derive KYC alternatives, the writers suggest, is even more important given that national population statistics show 63 percent of Tanzanian youth aged between 16 and 24 are economically active, but only 60 percent have any form of ID. Statistics also show about 90 percent of urban youth have a mobile phone and 52 percent of them have access to the internet, which is considered their main mode of business transaction. This, the FSDT representatives point out, sets up an opportunity to use digital ID for KYC.

The authors cite the National Financial Inclusion Framework 2018-2022 and the Financial Sector Development Master Plan 2020/21-2029/30 which both highlight the need to prioritize initiatives that will have an impact on the lives of the youth to promote their improved well-being and empowerment with financial inclusion as the driver.

“Youth between 16 to 17 years cannot even produce national identification numbers or voters ID since they are not eligible and yet a significant number is already active in the economy… Financial inclusion by enabling youth access and usage of relevant financial products and solutions offer a great opportunity to unlock the younger youth potentials and improve their livelihoods through job creation and income generation,” the writers state.

Thus, to the FSDT staff, “exploring alternative digital identification for this segment linked with the National Identification Authority (NIDA) to enable smooth onboarding and acquiring of national identity number by the time they reach 18 years old, is of paramount importance.”

They think mobile networks operating in the country and financial regulation authorities can also play a role in this by revising their regulations, such as with tiered KYC processes, to factor in those who are suffering exclusion.

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