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Financial Education’s digital future attracts Royalty, Ministers and CEOs

By Nick Jones, Former Head of Digital Comms and CSR • Visa Europe

April 26, 2016

Amsterdam was the focal point for the world’s financial literacy community last week. Visa Europe contributed to two major events on that theme held in the city. The events also saw royalty and politicians join the debate on how to give people a financial education that makes them financially resilient.*

Nicolas Huss was formally appointed to the board of Junior Achievement Europe at its annual general meeting. Our CEO joins JA Europe, our strategic partner for financial and entrepreneur education, as it prepares for a digital world.

“I’m pleased to now be on the board,” said Nicolas. “I’ve participated in its programmes before. I’ve seen the benefits to students and volunteers. I look forward to helping it tackle the digital future.”

Nicolas also took part in a panel discussing young people and economic success. He explained why Visa Europe is sponsoring a study on what financial skills business and the economy needs young people to have. With JA Europe the company is surveying European businesses, including clients, so their views can inform the governments, regulators and educators. All of whom need to partner effectively to deliver financial education that is effective.

“We are asking three questions”, explained Nicolas. “What would you need ideally? .When you look at the people you are going to hire what financial skills do you need them to have? And, what is it to be ‘digital savvy’?”

Nicolas joins other new board members from ExxonMobil, GE Europe, MetLife and Jobbatical.

Across several canals, Visa Europe was also contributing to the prestigious OECD Global Symposium on Financial Resilience. The OECD, which helps policy makers around the world develop smarter government, revealed its latest report: Trends and Recent Developments in Financial Education in Europe. The report is sponsored by Visa Turkey and the 22 member banks who back its I Can Manage My Money programme. It’s the second OECD report Visa Turkey has supported.

“It is a great platform for us to showcase the commitment and contribution of our Turkish member banks to advance financial literacy in Turkey,” explains Alev Saman, who runs our CSR projects in Turkey. “In turn, it is also a tool for us to show our member banks that we are creating value for them. I Can Manage My Money is a unique sectoral mobilisation recognised by an international audience.”

The new OECD report highlights that many European countries now have national financial literacy strategies. However, it also noted that there are still low levels of financial literacy even in sophisticated markets. The symposium highlighted good ideas from around the word to boost that literacy level. It was addressed by the Head of the OECD and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands. She has a long record campaigning for better financial education. Both called for more digital games and apps to help young people learn in a way relevant to them.

Joining royalty were the Dutch finance minister and the central bank governor. The Netherlands holds the European Union presidency currently and financial literacy is a key policy for it. Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem noted that while there some great awareness raising platforms for people “we need apps, games, MOOCs to get them into action.”

Visa Europe supports financial education in 11 countries and across Europe through its relationship with Junior Achievement Europe and other partners.

*Confused by the terminology ? Financial literacy academic Michael Collins, sums up the terms rather neatly:

  • Financial literacy = knowing what to do
  • Financial capability = skills to do
  • Financial inclusion = opportunity to do

To which we add:

  • Financial resilience = putting it all together to withstand events that impact income.

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