Injaz Al-Arab and HSBC launch joint initiative to upskill low-income workers
Injaz Al-Arab and HSBC on Monday announced the launch of a joint initiative called ‘Saving for Good’, which will upskill 1,950 low-income workers through a series of financial literacy programmes aimed at alleviating job market challenges.
The initiative is set to be rolled out across the GCC and Egypt. The partnership, built on HSBC’s objectives of securing the well-being and the future of all members of the community, also plans to reach 9,750 indirect beneficiaries and help 30 to 35 per cent of the total participants open saving accounts by the end of the programme. Besides opening bank accounts, experts at the digital launch of the initiative, explained that low-income workers will also be instructed on good saving habits and learning how to manage their savings.
Speaking at the launch of the initiative, Sabrin Rahman, head of Sustainability, HSBC EMEA, said that the initiative is dedicated to the low income community, where individuals can be highly vulnerable to shocks and stresses. The aim, she said, is to build a financially resilient community. “Low-income individuals around the world and particularly in the Middle East are highly vulnerable to social upheaval and economic shocks, as they are often the least prepared. With the added context of the global Covid-19 pandemic, it is increasingly important that everyone has access to support that will help to strengthen their resilience to future shocks and stresses, without compromising their welfare.”
Akef Aqrabawi, president & CEO of Injaz-Al Arab, said that he believes that such an initiative should become a mandate for governments, the private sector, and nonprofit organisations to play a major role in equipping, upskilling, and empowering low income workers against future economic shocks.
“We know that small measures such as routine saving and prudent management of funds can help create a robust buffer during vulnerable times. Through partnerships with the private, government and semi government sectors as well as financial partners, we have a strong base to enhance the reach of our initiative across the GCC and Egypt and provide the required support to our beneficiaries,” he said.
Paul Cox, head of Customer and Products, Wealth and Personal Banking, Mena and Turkey region at HSBC, also spoke about how the Covid-19 pandemic has had a “marked impact” on low income workers particularly when they were exposed due to lack of knowledge about their finances. “When you combine this with the increasing complexity of the financial system, then it becomes clear that strengthening financial knowledge skills in our communities is going to be a critical feature for the future success for any nation.”
With the Covid-19 pandemic leading to abrupt job losses, leaving individuals with little resources to sustain themselves, ‘Saving for Good’ aims to empower to ensure their readiness to respond to crises such as Covid-19 in the future.
As part of the Future Skills Sustainability Strategy of HSBC that focuses on employability and financial capability, the programme aims to improve the quality of life of low-income workers, which in turn has a positive long-term impact on their nation’s economy. Evidence suggests that well-designed financial products and services play an important role in increasing resilience by guiding on areas such as risk, savings, and investment in addition to future planning.
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