A crisis is facing youth around the globe in both developed and developing countries. In developed countries, youth unemployment rates have been growing despite low or declining birth rates and youth’s falling share of the ageing population. In the developing countries, the biggest youth population in the world’s history represents a great opportunity; one that, if seized, can give a powerful boost to achieving the Millennium Development Goals as they approach their deadline in 2015.
This issue of Southern Innovator contains a snapshot of some of the stories published in the monthly e-newsletter Development Challenges, South-south Solutions. Researching the e-newsletter since 2007 has unearthed a wealth of resources, shedding light on many opportunities for engaging youth to meet development goals.
One fact comes across time and time again: youth want to work and contribute to their societies, but often they are working in a way that is not bringing high economic benefits to them and their families. Many work in the informal sector, undertaking hard work requiring few sophisticated skills and doing entrepreneurial activities driven more by enthusiasm and need than by clever business plans and models. The stories gathered here show that things do not have to be this way.
There are now 1.8 billion youth between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world, and 90 per cent of them are in the developing world. As the stories in this section show, finding the right way to engage them can pay big dividends for these countries.