Nigeria is ranked 161st on the 2020 Global Youth Development Index which measures the status of young people in 181 countries around the world, according to the Commonwealth Secretariat.
The Commonwealth Secretariat in its triennial rankings report released on Tuesday measured youth development in 181 countries, with 156 of them recording at least slight improvements in their scores.
Singapore ranked top for the first time followed by Slovenia, Norway, Malta and Denmark. Chad, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Niger came last respectively.
The index further reveals that the conditions of young people have improved around the world by 3.1 per cent between 2010 and 2018, but progress remains slow.
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.
The index ranks countries between 0.00 (lowest) and 1.00 (highest) according to the developments in youth education, employment, health, equality and inclusion, peace and security, and political and civic participation.
It looks at 27 indicators including literacy and voting to showcase the state of the world’s 1.8 billion people between the age of 15 and 29.
Afghanistan, India, Russia, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso were the top five improvers, advancing their score, on average, by 15.74 per cent.
On the other hand, Syria, Ukraine, Libya, Jordan and Lebanon showed the greatest decline in youth development between 2010 and 2018.
Overall, the index shows 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.
Speaking before the release, Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland 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.
“Our Youth Development Index is a vital tool which has already significantly enhanced our capacity to assess the extent to which youth are engaged to contribute beneficially in their societies, and empowered by enabling policies and tools.”
In addition, she said while the data used to compile the index was gathered before the COVID-19 pandemic, the findings indicated where progress was being achieved and where it was not, and that urgent action is now needed.
The official said the report highlighted that urgent action should be taken so that pre-pandemic gains would not be lost, but sustained and developed further, more broadly and more inclusively.
“As we work to recover and rebuild from the many consequences of the pandemic, we need to draw as fully as possible on the energy and idealism of youth.
“So that fresh opportunities for social, economic and political development are opened up with present and future generations of young people equipped and empowered to fulfil their potential,” she said.