TSHWANE, SOUTH AFRICA -- (Marketwire) -- 10/28/08 -- The city of Tshwane continues toestablish its identity as a progressive municipality, as Executive MayorDr. Gwen Ramokgopa announced a partnership with financial literacyempowerment organization Operation HOPE (HOPE) to encourage opportunitiesfor youth and women over the next four years. An official signing of theMemorandum of Understanding was held today at Munitoria [Executive Mayor'soffice].
"The City is honoured by the interest Operation HOPE is taking in launchingthis programme in Tshwane to address the plight of our poor people in thisCity," said Dr. Ramokgopa.
The award-winning program, Banking on Our Future, is a recipient of the11th John Sherman Award for Financial Education given by the U.S. TreasuryDepartment. It is also the recipient of the Oprah Winfrey "Use Your Life"Award, which was accompanied by a $100,000 cash grant to expand work infinancial literacy education for youth.
HOPE, already well established in the Gauteng province, has relationshipsin place with Citi, Deutsche Bank, the International Finance Corporation(member of the World Bank Group), Standard Bank and the Nelson MandelaChildren's Fund. Combined they have committed to invest $1 million (U.S.)and to recruit, train and mobilize more than 250 local professional HOPECorps volunteers in a new and innovative private/public partnership toteach a minimum of 50,000 South African youth and young adults in financialliteracy, dignity and entrepreneurship in South Africa. To date HOPE hasalready trained more than 5,000 students and recruited over 220 HOPE Corpsmembers in South Africa alone.
"The City of Tshwane is making history today, something which will have alasting impact for years to come," noted Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman,and CEO John Hope Bryant. "Operation HOPE is pleased to bring our SilverRights Movement of empowerment to its youth, women and the indigent. Welook forward to the opportunity to inspire and educate these students usingour Banking on Our Future program, based in dignity and focused onfinancial literacy and entrepreneurship."
Tshwane is a progressive city, already slated as one of the nine hostcities for the 2009 Confederations Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Itscharm lies in a harmonious blend of African roots and many culturaltraditions. It is hoped that the multidimensional initiative will provide aplatform for sparking economic growth and development in the city andsurrounding under-served townships.
It has large poor communities which are decimated by prevailingunfavourable socio-economic conditions. The City's current Indigentregister exceeds 44,000 registered indigent people and the number ofregistered indigents is growing at an alarming rate. To address thispoverty scourge, the City needs to plan active interventions which willhave a lasting impact on our attempts in turning this tide.
As part of its array of interventions within the Tshwane economy, theEconomic Development Department identified financial literacy andentrepreneurial training as a key intervention strategy targeting the poor,indigent and destitute. Financial literacy training has proved that it hasan impact on poor communities not understanding the systems which makemarket economies function. This prevents poor people from becomingcasualties of free market societies, but instead gains knowledge andunderstanding of such systems and the opportunities they offer.
The Enterprise Development Section of the Economic Development Departmenthas identified and invited Operation HOPE as an international partner withthe relevant experience and background to assist the Municipality toaddress this enormous existing need.
One of the major challenges of the City will be to make the concept of adevelopmental state a reality to the people of Tshwane. The poor sectionsof our society need to experience the impact of developmental programmes,otherwise frustrations will become a growing concern.
About Operation HOPE
Founded in 1992, immediately following the worst urban riot in U.S.history, Operation HOPE is America's leading nonprofit social investmentbanking and financial literacy empowerment organization. With more than 400private sector partners, 1500 nonprofit organizations and schools, and 100government partners serving 68 under-served communities in the U.S. as wellas South Africa, Operation HOPE has raised more than $400 million in itspursuit of educating, assisting and inspiring the next generation of global"silver rights" stakeholders. Through international initiatives and itsprincipal programs: Banking on Our Future (teaching school children aboutmoney), HOPE Coalition America (Mortgage HOPE Crisis Hotline,1-888-388-HOPE, financial emergency preparedness and disaster relief), HOPEAdvisors and the HOPE Banking Center Network (loans, bill pay, computerliteracy, understanding banking principles), Operation HOPE has assumed theresponsibility of piloting the Silver Rights Movement towards making freeenterprise and capitalism relevant to all under-served communities. Civilrights icon Ambassador Andrew Young is the global spokesman for OperationHOPE. More information about the organization can be found atwww.operationhope.org.