OPINIONWorld Development Report 2007 [Archives:2006/987/Business & Economy]

October 5 2006

Raidan Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf
[email protected]

One of the most important documents for policymakers, economists, journalists, and any person who has a genuine interest in development is the World Development Report issued by the World Bank, below are excerpts from the report and the report abstract as well.

“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 World Development Report 2007.

“Young people today have more education, experience greater political openness, and have increased contact with the outside world through television, the internet, and migration than any of their predecessors, and this can ease their transition into being the law-abiding, engaged citizens of tomorrow” says Mamta Murthi, co-author of the World Development Report 2007.

“Such large numbers of young people living in developing countries present great opportunities, but also risks 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” says Francois Bourguignon, the World Bank's Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Development Economics.

Report Abstract:

The theme of the World Development Report (WDR) 2007 is youth, aged 12 to 24. It focuses on decisions concerning the five phases with the biggest long-term impact on how human capital is kept safe, developed, and deployed. For each phase (continuing to learn, starting to work, developing a healthful lifestyle, beginning a family, and exercising citizenship) governments must increase investments directly and cultivate an environment for young people and their families to invest in themselves. The WDR suggests that a youth lens on policies affecting the five phases would help focus on three broad directions: expanding opportunities, enhancing capabilities, and providing second chances. Each pathway (opportunities, capabilities, and second chances) is applied to each of the transitions, generating reform suggestions. To mobilize the economic and political resources to stimulate such reforms, countries must resolve three issues: better coordination and integration with national policy, stronger voice, and more evaluation. In addition, the WDR examines both youth migration, and their increasing use of new technologies.

Complete Report is available for download at the World Bank's website: www.worldbank.org