Visa and The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago celebrated success of the sixth annual co-sponsored summit on financial literacy recently, as part of their ongoing commitment to promote and facilitate good money skills.

Attended by senior Visa representatives from across the MENA region, the event explored potential solutions to improving financial literacy worldwide as part of both organisation’s commitment to improving financial literacy rates.

Moderated by Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, one of the most trusted personal finance publications in the US, and featured US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Governor José Darío Uribe of the Colombian Central Bank and Canadian Parliamentary Finance Committee Chair James Rajotte. It also hosted a special panel presentation of original financial education research that explored ways financial knowledge and behavior can be improved.

“The public-private partnership between the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Visa in hosting this summit is a model on how we can improve financial literacy in the United States and around the world,” said Charles Evans, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

As part of Visa’s global commitment to achieving greater community engagement and youth education within the field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the agency’s objective was to develop a locally designed campaign to launch the global Financial Literacy programme in the GCC and help drive visitors to its Middle East financial literacy website:,   Visa’s aim is to reach 20 million people worldwide with financial literacy information by May 2013.

Global Financial Literacy Barometer: Key Findings

As part of the Summit, Visa and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine released the results of the 2012 Global Financial Literacy Barometer that assessed and ranked the financial literacy levels of people in 28 nations.

Overall, the UAE ranked top of the countries surveyed in the MENA region, scoring just under ten points below the leading country Brazil. Brazil was followed by Mexico, Australia, the United States and Canada as having the most financially literate people.

The results show that parents in the UAE have a particularly positive approach to encouraging financial literacy among their children compared to most wealthy countries, with 78% believing it is important to speak to their children about their financial future on a regular basis.

Among the other key findings of the survey:

  • 25% of respondents with a high income say they do not have enough funds to cover a personal economic emergency fall into high income categories. A high level of respondents in the UAE (70%) admitted that they do not have the funds necessary to survive a personal economic emergency lasting more than three months.
  • Respondents in more than half of the 28 countries surveyed believe that overall, teenagers and young adults do not understand money management basics, such as budgeting, savings, debt and spending responsibly.
  • Across the globe, the youngest and oldest citizens face the most personal economic risk in the sense that they have the smallest emergency reserves and they are least likely to follow a budget.

“The Barometer clearly demonstrates that while there have been great strides made in advancing financial education there is still much more to be done,” said Oliver Jenkyn, Group Executive, North America, Visa Inc..  “That is why Visa and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago share a commitment to helping people of all ages gain the financial tools necessary to become better money managers. The annual Financial Literacy Summit is an important part of this effort.”

A more detailed summary of the key findings of the Global Financial Literacy Barometer can be found at:

The summit can be viewed online at:






Rushika Bhatia Editor

Rushika Bhatia is one of the region’s leading commentators on business and current affairs issues. She is the Editor of SME Advisor magazine - the flagship title of CPI Business. She is passionate about infographics – with special emphasis on data, research and statistics. Rushika has a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University, USA and is also CIMA qualified.

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