Financial literacy is defined as the set of skills of financial consumers to understand financial products and concepts, evaluate financial risks and opportunities, make reasonable choices and take other effective steps to be able to improve their well-being.
In most developed and developing countries lessons in different formats are taught for various target groups on Financial Literacy (FL), FL internet portals launched, wide-scale mass media campaigns, trainings, conferences, round tables, etc held for relevant trainers. All these activities involve public entities, private sector and civil societies.
International practice shows that some countries have public programs and strategies on FL and also take steps to include FL to educational programs. Central and commercial banks conduct educational campaigns for various target audience. Some countries even have FL consultation centers. Informative events, promotion campaigns, mass media broadcasts and other relevant activities on FL are carried out. Portals abundant with various resources are used for different target groups.
Bank employees visit schools or invite students to banks, give them small gifts, including pens, notebooks, chocolates, money-boxes, or training aids and interesting booklets. They also realize interactive games, quizzes, crosswords, etc. suitable for key school courses. Furthermore, drawing and essay contests held by banks make the events much more memorable. All the events mentioned repeatedly prove the significance of financial literacy.
The key targets of banks in this regard are to: (a) make customers economically and financially more educated and skillful, (b) educate parents through children, (c) make changes to financial behaviour of people, (d) inspire corporate social responsibility, and (e) mitigate risks.
Given all these factors, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan launched the Financial Literacy Project in 2010 under its mission plan. Promotion of financial and economic literacy as a public value can be acknowledged as one of the key goals.
The Development Department of the Center for Research and Development implements these activities on behalf of the CBA. The key target audience of the FL Project are high school students, broad public, economic journalists, CBA employees, commercial bank employees, and students majoring in banking.
The Development Department’s various activities to date: study of the international practice, communication with donor organizations, educational events for higher school students and journalists, meetings with high school students jointly with the Ministry of Education, elaboration of curriculum recommendations, a series of “banks to schools, students to banks” events, the Economic Football interactive game jointly with VISA and the Ministry of Taxes, as well as the International Savings Day at the end of the previous year.
The future FL activities include enhancement of socio-economic growth of the country, support for development of the Azerbaijani banking system, raising economic and financial awareness in the country, promoting financial literacy as a public value and changes to people’s behaviour. The harmonized Actions Plan incorporates surveys among the population to evaluate FL, elaboration of the FL Strategy, improving financial economic education in high schools, preparing optional programs for IV-VIII year high school students on raising financial awareness and skills and a series of “banks to schools, students to banks” events.
Partners of the Development Department on Financial Literacy include the Azerbaijan Library Confederation (ALC), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), the American Resource Center (ARC), the Germany International Cooperation Society (GIZ), the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), the World Bank (WB), the German Savings Banks Fund for International Cooperation (SBFIC) and the Ministry of Education.