Putting Youth Employment at the Heart of Growth
The demographic divide is stark: while industrial nations are aging, the face of the developing world is overwhelmingly young. In Africa for example, nearly 70% of the population is under the age of 30. Tapping the potential of this emerging generation is a critical challenge. According to the International Labour Organization, two-thirds of working-age youth in some developing countries are either unemployed or trapped in low-quality jobs.
Including youth in growth strategies is vital for several reasons. The demographic bulge coincides with a number of shifts underway in the developing world. In already fragile regions, the frustrated aspirations of a burgeoning youth population can be volatile. Meanwhile, youth are migrating from rural areas to seek work in cities as weak investment in agriculture and other factors fuel high rates of urbanization.
Economic growth in the developing world has failed to generate enough good jobs for this emerging generation. There is a critical need for policies and interventions that will create opportunities, ease young people into labour markets, and guide them toward well-paying and productive work that improves their quality of life.