Pakistan ranks 154 in the 183-country 2016 Youth Development Index (YDI), compiled by the Commonwealth Secretariat, London.
Although the all-round development of young people in most parts of the world is improving – as 142 countries among 183 listed showed – Pakistan went in the other direction – from medium to low YDI category between 2010 and 2015.
The 18 percent slide in Pakistan’s YDI score – 0.47 out of 1 – over the past five years was the most for any country globally (snapshot above).
The YDI has five domains (see above) measuring levels of education, health and wellbeing, employment and opportunity, political participation and civic participation for young people of ages 15-29.
The Pakistan slide (see below) was brought about by a dramatic fall in the domains of civic participation (58 percent) and political participation (69 percent).
Some other indices on Pakistan
The indicators that contributed the most to this decline in Pakistan were: (i.e. absence of) voiced an opinion to an official, existence of a youth policy, volunteered time, and helped a stranger (see below).
Pakistan also scored significantly low in the areas of education and financial inclusion.
Education: Only 42 percent of youth in Pakistan are enrolled in secondary schools; South Asian and global scores for the same indicator are 68 percent and 81 percent respectively.
Financial inclusion: Only 6 percent youth in Pakistan have a bank account; South Asian and global scores for the same indicator are 31 percent and 42 percent respectively.
The YDI is a composite index of 18 indicators that collectively measure progress on youth development in 183 countries, including 49 of the 53 Commonwealth countries.
The Commonwealth defines youth as people between the ages of 15 and 29, while some countries and international institutions define youth differently (see below).
Pakistan’s travel infrastructure
YDI in Pakistan vs South Asian countries
Pakistan’s poor score is far below the neighbouring and South Asia/ Saarc countries.
Of the five domains of the YDI, Pakistan trailed behind the South Asian average in all except Health and Wellbeing.
Our neighbours’ global ranking in YDI 2016:
Sri Lanka 31
Only Afghanistan, at 167 rank, is behind Pakistan.
Youth development in the world & Commonwealth
According to YDI 2016 report, the ten highest-ranked Commonwealth countries in the YDI are mostly from Europe and Asia-Pacific (see above). Except Pakistan, all the ten lowest-ranked countries in the Commonwealth are from Africa.
Youth development in the Commonwealth registered larger gains than the global average (see below). Collectively, there was a 5 percent increase in the average YDI score of Commonwealth countries between 2010 and 2015.
Aside from Pakistan, every country in the Commonwealth either maintained or improved its YDI score.
There was a fall in YDI scores in 40 countries, with the deterioration being greatest in Pakistan, Angola, Haiti, Algeria and Chad.
The bight side of Pakistan economy
Lack of political participation in Pakistan
According to YDI 2016 report, in Pakistan, for instance, student unions used to play a very influential role in national politics.
With the abolishment of all student unions in the country three decades ago, the enthusiasm of young people in the country to participate in politics through institutionalised mechanisms has correspondingly waned.
Have you seen CPEC & OBOR stories on this blog?
Youth persecution by non-state actors
According to YDI 2016 report, the three countries showing the greatest decline in their YDI scores were Pakistan, Angola and Haiti. Young people in all three have been severely affected by civil unrest, armed conflict and/or natural disasters.
In many cases, the persecuted happen to be young. In many fragile and conflict-affected states, such as Mexico, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iraq and Syria, non-state actors have also increasingly targeted and punished activists, public intellectuals and journalists.
There are 1.8 billion young people in the world. 90 percent of them live in less developed countries. One-third of global youth come from the Commonwealth countries while one-fourth (26 percent) come from South Asia alone.
Download the Youth Development Index 2016 report here.
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