Plan Canada and MasterCard have partnered with the intentions of economically empower 70,000 in Niger, Sierra Leone and Senegal with access to savings and loans services and financial literacy training. The $4.1 million program is the largest program to take place in West Africa. It offers those ages 15 to 25 an opportunity to lead and manage a savings-led community-based approach to microfinance. This program will be expanded over four years, while at least 70 per cent of the participating youth will be female. Along with the 70,000 youth that will benefit from the project, 340 trainers, 490 community volunteers, and 135 staff will also receive training to become important resources and change agents for youth-centered economic and social development.
The Conference Board’s “U.S. Leading Economic Index and Consumer Confidence” says it sees a pick-up in the U.S. economy this year. CB expects the economy to grow about 3%. Growth has moderated but inflation appears under reasonable control and seems to have shaken off the burdens of cyclical dynamics says the firm. CB expects corporate profitability to peak this year and that overall profit gains should remain solid for the foreseeable future. However, as compensation costs rise and productivity gains wane, job growth picks up. This can put upward pressure on compensation when the unemployment rate is low. CB says the tensions created by trying to cover rising costs with higher prices have put businesses and the Fed on a collision course that suggests higher interest rates and lower profits lie ahead.
The cover story of the Aug 27th issue of Newsweek predicts a recession is likely if personal debts crimp consumer spending. The magazine, citing government statistics, says consumers owe $7.3 trillion, double the amount they carried in the last recession. Newsweek says forecasters predict that a record 1.4 million people may file for bankruptcy this year. The article says it found that homeowners are borrowing against their houses’ rising value to fuel discretionary spending. Newsweek also focused on the coming fallout in sub-prime lending.