Developing nations must nurture youths

Singapore, September 16 :

Developing nations can generate economic growth and reduce poverty by investing in better education, health care and job training for their record numbers of young people between 12 and 24 years old, the World Bank said today.

Some 1.3 billion young people live in the developing world, and youths constitute nearly half of the world’s unemployed, the World Development Report stated.

“They are healthier and better educated than previous generations, but need guidance to fulfill their potential.”

“It is far easier to develop skills during youth,” said Francois Bourguignon, the World Bank’s chief economist. “If we fail to do that, it will be impossible to remedy the missed opportunity. It is fundamental to invest in youth.” Bourguignon said it was important to seize the “demographic window of opportunity.” The report was released in Singapore for the annual meetings of the World Bank and the IMF.

The Middle East and North Africa must create 100 million jobs by 2020 in order to stabilise their employment situation, according to the report. Surveys of young people in East Asia and Eastern Europe and Central Asia show that access to jobs is a major concern.