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Nigeria Ranks 161st on Youth Development Index As Brands, Organisations Mark International Youth Day

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While brands and other organisations are lining up different programmes to mark the International Youth Day, observed annually on August 12 in celebration of the 1.8 billion people in the world, Nigeria’s low ranking on the global youth development index is creating some discomfiture in various circles.

Nigeria is ranked 161st on the 2020 Global Youth Development Index, which measures the status of young people in 181 countries around the world. Singapore ranked top for the first time, followed by Slovenia, Norway, Malta and Denmark.

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On the reverse, Chad, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Niger occupied the bottom positions.

The index further revealed that the conditions of young people have improved around the world by 3.1 per cent between 2010 and 2018, but noted that progress had remained slow. 

Details on the ranking were contained in a triennial report conducted by Commonwealth Secretariat that ranked youth development in 181 countries, with 156 of them recording at least slight improvements in their scores.

While the data used in the index pre-dates COVID-19, the report highlights the positive trajectory of youth development, which the virus could reverse for the first time unless urgent action was taken to secure the pre-pandemic gains.

Overall, the index showed advances in youth’s participation in peace processes and their education, employment, inclusion and health care since 2010.

Health made the largest gains of 4.39 per cent, driven by a 1.6 per cent decline in global youth mortality rates and a 2 per cent drop in each HIV, self-harm, alcohol abuse and tobacco use.  Sub-Saharan Africa made the greatest strides in improving the health of young people. 

Levels of underemployed youth and those not in school, training or work remained constant. Advances in equality and inclusion are led by improved gender parity in literacy as well as fewer child marriage cases and pregnancies in girls under 20. Yet no progress occurred in women’s safety. 

Speaking before the release, Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland QC, said:  “Young people are indispensable to delivering a future that is more just, inclusive, sustainable and resilient.

‘’By measuring their contributions and needs with hard data, our advocacy for their development becomes more powerful, and we are then able incrementally to increase the positive impact and benefits youth are able to add towards building a better future for us all”.

The International Youth Day was established by the General Assembly of the United Nations to motivate governments and private sector leaders to involve young people in finding solutions to the issues facing us like access to quality education, healthcare, decent jobs, a conducive environment with peace and accountability.  

 To mark the day. a bank in Nigeria, Ecobank says it is creating a special platform to celebrate Nigerian youths as part of activities to commemorate International Youth Day. Head, Direct Banking, Adetola Oshomah said the bank, as part of its Mobile Xpress (MX) Online Series, is hosting a symposium with the theme: “Finding your Voice”, a Career, Creativity, and Skills advocacy programme to support youth development. She said this is one of several activities to demonstrate that Ecobank is a youth-friendly bank.

” For this year’s International Youth Day, we are organizing a digital seminar that will give the youths the opportunity to speak. Our panelists comprise young people who have excelled in their various careers and professions. They include Adeoluwa Enioluwa, a Writer and Public Speaker; Ozinna Anumudu, expert in Fashion and Branding; Jemima Osunde, Actress, Model and Presenter; Bright Okpocha (Basketmouth), Comedian and Actor and Bankole Williams Consultant, Career Coach and a host of others”. She stated.  

 Another organization, a popular non-profit organisations, LEAP Africa, is coming up with a programme called the Youth Day of Service (YDoS). It is an annual week-long, pan-African youth-led social impact campaign that will begin on August 12 every year which is also ‘International Youth Day’.  

According to Femi Taiwo, Executive Director, LEAP Africa, The Youth Day of Service provides  an opportunity to celebrate young people and  elevates the significant message of young people as agents of social change, young people as leaders, public servers, value adders.  In his words. “We are less than 10 years from 2030, the year that was set for the UN development goals. One thing the world leaders have agreed on is that if we will achieve those goals, we need all hands-on deck. And while the social sector and private sector are important, the youth are extremely important. If we can make them take ownership of these goals and localize these goals in their respective communities, we stand a better chance of achieving them. So that’s what the Youth Day of Service means for us”.

On a global perspective, the International Youth Day (IYD) is an awareness day designated by the United Nations. The purpose of the day is to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding the youths. The first IYD was observed on 12 August 2000.

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