The Gambia has been poorly ranked 139th on the 2020 Global Youth Development Index, which measures the status of young people in 181 countries around the world. The ranking comes as the world celebrates International Youth Day 2021 today with the theme, ‘Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health.’
Prepared by the Commonwealth Secretariat Youth Division, the Global Youth Development Index (YDI) is an aggregate of indicators between 0.00 (lowest) and 1.00 (highest) that measure progress on youth development using five main domains: levels of education, health and well-being, employment and opportunity, civic participation and political participation.
This measure enables users to observe, monitor, and measure youth development and experiences across the world. This scoring system is the same as the one that underpins the HDI produced by the UNDP’s Human Development Report Office (HDRO)
It also looked at 27 indicators, including literacy and voting.
The Gambia scored 0.577 points, the same and tied as Kenya at position 139. The Gambia also beats Togo (141), Rwanda (142), and its neighbors Tanzania (148) and Uganda (157).
Above The Gambia are fellow African countries like Senegal (133), South Africa (131), Djibouti (128), Egypt (123), Comoros (121), Namibia (119), Gabon (114), and Libya (110).
Overall, the index shows advances in youth’s participation in peace processes and their education, employment, inclusion, and healthcare since 2010.
Levels of underemployed youth and those not in school, training, or work remained constant.
Health made the largest gains of 4.39 percent, driven by a 1.6 percent decline in global youth mortality rates and a 2 percent drop in each HIV, self-harm, alcohol abuse, and tobacco use.
According to the Commonwealth Secretariat’s triennial rankings of youth development, 156 countries recorded slight improvements in their scores.
Singapore ranked top for the first time, followed by Slovenia, Norway, Malta, and Denmark.
The report indicates that, despite some progress, sub-Saharan Africa registers the lowest levels of youth development, followed by the South Asian and the Middle East, and North Africa regions.
The 10 lowest YDI scores are all Sub-Saharan African countries – Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d’ Ivoire, Niger, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mali.
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 is taken to secure the pre-pandemic gains.