The issue of economic exclusion is a stark one: The number of unemployed youth globally is estimated at 71 million, with many regions recording a youth unemployment rate twice as high as adults and leading to many 15 to 24-year olds to fall into the category of “working poor”.
Over 40 percent of women remain outside of the formal financial system. Economic inclusion therefore targets support for and the creation of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as the promotion of entrepreneurship and training in the skills that employers need. It also includes efforts, such as savings groups, that bring women into the financial system. And because SMEs generate 50 percent of employment worldwide, the Aga Khan Foundation also helps build the conditions for SMEs to thrive, including the provision of electricity, market system development and other necessary infrastructure.