Southern Innovator - - YOUTH -


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.

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