The World Bank's annual World Development Report (WDR) is an invaluable guide to the economic, social and environmental state of the world today. Each year the WDR provides in depth analysis of a specific aspect of development. Past reports have considered such topics as the role of the state, transition economies, labor, infrastructure, health, the environment, and poverty. The reports are the Bank's best-known contribution to thinking about development.
World Development Report 2007: Development and the Next Generation.
So why is the World Bank interested in young people? Two simple reasons
- “There’s never been a better time than now for countries to invest in the next generation”
- There has been an enormous progress over the past 30 years in terms of education world wide and the decrease in infant mortality
- But this progress brings further challenges such as, “Are there enough jobs? Does the education prepare us for the daily lives? We encourage more primary education, but what about secondary education?”
- We have the largest Youth Bulge ever
- The youth bulge in the population pyramid due to decreasing fertility rate and growing aging population
- Falling fertility rate leads to lower demographic dependence (a lot more working population) however this dependence will increase eventually in some countries due to the aging population.
- Policies and institution matters- human capital and skills development
- Which paths do developing countries follow?
The WDR lists the success and pitfalls in some countries.
The 2007 Report: Development and the Next Generation uses five transitional stages that youths go through in life and uses those transitional phase to find gaps for investment. These transitional stages are: Going to School, Staying healthy, finding a Job, Leaving home & starting a family and Exercising citizenship.
According to the World Development Report 2007: Development and the Next Generation, developing countries which invest in better education, healthcare, and job training for their record numbers of young people between the ages of 12 and 24 years of age, could produce surging economic growth and sharply reduced poverty.
With 1.3 billion young people now living in the developing world-the largest-ever youth group in history-the report says there has never been a better time to invest in youth because they are healthier and better educated than previous generations, and they will join the workforce with fewer dependents because of changing demographics.
"Such large numbers of young people living in developing countries present great opportunities, but also risks," says François Bourguignon, the World Bank's Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Development Economics.
"The opportunities are great, as many countries will have a larger, more skilled labor force and fewer dependents. But these young people must be well-prepared in order to create and find good jobs."
The World Development Report 2007: Development and the Next Generation use three lenses to look at social issues affecting young people around the world. Expanding Opportunity, Enhancing Capacities and providing Second Chances.
- Opportunity to build skills and safe guard them e.g. education, relevance of the education system.
- Opportunity to be heard, positive ways to make that mark e.g. Brazil’s consultation with youth before policies are made
- Is there support for young people to help them make right choices? E.g. In Bangladesh there are bank accounts in the names of girls as they were willing to study and remain unmarried until they do so this has helped increase the enrolment rate of girls in terms of education. It was very successful.
- Second chances to allow young people to get back on track and recover
- To ensure that there are no parallel system for those who have succeed and those who fail.
- Restoration rather than retribution
"Most developing countries have a short window of opportunity to get this right before their record numbers of youth become middle-aged, and they lose their demographic dividend. This isn't just enlightened social policy. This may be one of the profound decisions a developing country will ever make to banish poverty and galvanize its economy," says Emmanuel Jimenez, lead author of the report, and Director of Human Development in the World Bank's East Asia and the Pacific Department.