Youth gives India a competitive edge

New York: With 356 million 10-24 year-olds youths, India has the world’s largest youth population despite having a smaller population than China, a latest UN report said on Tuesday.

China is second with 269 million young people, followed by Indonesia (67 million), the US (65 million) and Pakistan (59 million), Nigeria with 57 million, Brazil with 51 million, and Bangladesh with 48 million, the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) State of the World’s Population report said.

It is said that developing countries with large youth populations could see their economies soar, provided they invest heavily in young people’s education and health and protect their rights

Within this generation are 600 million adolescent girls with specific needs, challenges and aspirations for the future, the report said.

“Today’s record 1.8 billion young people present an enormous opportunity to transform the future,” UNFPA Executive Director, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin said.

“Young people are the innovators, creators, builders and leaders of the future. But they can transform the future only if they have skills, health, decision-making, and real choices in life,” he added.

Nine in 10 of the world’s young people today live in less developed countries. Because of lagging social services, these countries face greater obstacles to leveraging the advantages that can result from engaging a youthful, productive workforce.

The UNFPA report shows demographic shifts taking place in about 60 countries are opening a window for a demographic dividend. The size of the dividend depends largely on how those countries invest in young people to realize their full potential.

“Never before have there been so many young people. Never again is there likely to be such potential for economic and social progress. How we meet the needs and aspirations of young people will define our common future,” the report said.

In order to maximise the dividend, countries must ensure their young working-age populations are equipped to seize opportunities for jobs and other income-earning possibilities, the UN report added.

With PTI inputs

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