Nigeria ranks 161st on the 2020 Global Youth Development Index, a significant drop from the last ranking which measures the status of young people in 181 countries around the world.
The West African country dropped 20 places from 141, her last ranking in 2016.
The report released on Tuesday by the Commonwealth says the index calls for more investment in lifelong digital skilling of young people and youth participation in decision-making to reverse trends which adversely impact them.
According to the triennial report, 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.
Conditions of young people around the world also improved by 3.1 per cent between 2010 and 2018 according to the report, but it also noted that progress remains slow.
“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,” Snober Abbasi, the Assistant Communication Officer said in the report.
It further urges governments to improve data collection on education and diversify how they measure digital skills and online engagement of youth.
Speaking before the release, Commonwealth Secretary-General The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC 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.”
She added: “While the data used to compile the index was gathered before the COVID-19 pandemic, the findings indicate where progress was being achieved and where it was not, and that urgent action is now needed so that pre-pandemic gains are not 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.”
In a pre-recorded message, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Hon Gaston Browne, said: “It is an important index which offers empirical evidence as to the level of youth development within the Commonwealth. It establishes a baseline so that youth development can be monitored regularly and we can see how we are closing the identified gaps.”
The index, which draws on multiple data sources, was to be released at the now-postponed Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2020. However, with CHOGM being postponed again until 2022, it was decided to release the index this year.
By Abel Ejikeme