Sources: Empowering youth for a better future

Young people represent a large proportion of the human capital in developing countries. However, the majority of the young population in these countries don’t have access to economic, social and political opportunities and assets to help them fulfil their potential [1,3]. Young people are agents of effective economic, political and social change but the youth agenda is often deemed secondary and they are left out of important decision-making processes, stripping them of their voice and agency [1,2,4]. Development agents are not sufficiently including youth in national and international policy-making [5].

Facts and Figures

  • Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 account for more than one quarter of the world's population [4].

  • Over 85 percent of young people live in developing countries [4]. 

  • Young people today are at highest risk of poverty and social exclusion in Europe [6].

  • In 2018, the rate of young people aged 16-29 years at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU was 26.3 percent [7].

  • 2.2 percent of the world’s members of parliament are under the age of 30, up from 1.9 per cent in 2016 [8].  

  • 76 percent of the world’s upper houses of parliament have no members of parliament under the age of 30 [8].


Development programmes should focus on supporting countries to implement national youth strategies and create legal and institutional frameworks that encourage youth participation [3,9]. Partnerships among governments, civil societies and networks in the youth sector need to be strengthened [1]. Youth participation should be part of all aspects of public and private life [10]. Governments must strengthen mechanisms for youth policy development on a local, national and international level. By donating to the organisations below you’ll be supporting these solutions.


  1. World Bank - Investing in Youth Empowerment and Inclusion: A Social Development Approach Insights from the ECA and LAC regions (report

  2. UNFPA - Youth Participation & Leadership (link

  3. OECD - Youth Engagement and Empowerment (link

  4. OECD - Youth Inclusion (link

  5. Rural youth inclusion, empowerment and participation (report

  6. Towards Social Inclusion of Young People in the EU (research paper)

  7. Eurostat - Young People: Social Inclusion (link

  8. Inter-Parliamentary Union - Data on Youth Participation (link

  9. United Nations - World Youth Report 2030 (report

  10. Impact of Youth Empowerment of Scheme on Poverty Alleviation in Nigeria (research paper