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WDR 2007 : Development and the Next Generation
Author :  The World Bank
Publisher : World Bank
Pub. Date :  2006
ISBN : 978-0-8213-6541-0
DOI :  10.1596/978-0-8213-6541-0

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©2006 The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank

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This volume is a product of the staff of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank. The fi ndings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed herein do not necessarily refl ect the views of the Executive Directors of The World Bank or the governments they represent.

The World Bank does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this work. The boundaries, colors, denominations, and other information shown on any map in this work do not imply any judgement on the part of The World Bank concerning the legal status of any territory or the endorsement or acceptance of such boundaries.

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Cover design by Chris Lester of Rock Creek Creative, Inc.

Typesetting by Precision Graphics.

Printed in the United States by Quebecor World USA, Inc.

Cover images by Paul Olaja. Paul is a 19-year-old artist studying at Kyambogo University in Kampala, Uganda. In his paintings, Paul represents the many facets of youth: youth performing as a way to share their rich culture, working hard to survive, and growing into their adult roles. He depicts the central role of women, the tremendous diversity in the world and how young people strive to become a part of it. In his own words “youth need to do something for the world to hold it up."

As a teenager, Paul lost his parents to HIV/AIDS. Art is Paul’s passion, and his goal is to use art to share the stories of his homeland and to help other young people in need in Africa.


ISBN-10: 0-8213-6541-X

ISBN-13: 978-0-8213-6541-0

ISSN: 0163-5085

eISBN-10: 0-8213-6542-8

eISBN-13: 978-0-8213-6542-7

DOI: 10.1596/978-0-8213-6541-0


ISBN-10: 0-8213-6549-5

ISBN-13: 978-0-8213-6549-6

ISSN: 0163-5085

eISBN-10: 0-8213-6550-9

eISBN-13: 978-0-8213-6550-2

DOI: 10.1596/978-0-8213-6549-6

The time has never been better to invest in young people living in developing countries—that is the message of this year’s World Development Report, the twenty-ninth in the series. The number of people worldwide aged 12–24 years has reached 1.3 billion, the largest in history. It is also the healthiest and best educated—a strong base to build on in a world that demands more than basic skills.

Today’s youth are tomorrow’s workers, entrepreneurs, parents, active citizens, and, indeed, leaders. And, because of falling fertility, they will have fewer children than their parents as they move through adulthood. This in turn may boost growth—by raising the share of the population that is working and by boosting household savings. Rich and poor countries alike need to seize this opportunity before the aging of societies closes it. Doing so will enable them to grow faster and reduce poverty even further.

This Report examines five pivotal phases of life that can help unleash the development of young people’s potential with the right government policies: learning, working, staying healthy, forming families, and exercising citizenship. Within each of these transitions, governments need not only to increase investments directly but also to cultivate an environment for young people and their families to invest in themselves. The Report identifies three policy directions for helping youth develop themselves and contribute to society: expanding opportunities, enhancing capabilities, and providing second chances.

Investing in young people strongly contributes to the Bank’s overarching mission of fighting poverty. At the same time, investing in young people is a challenge for governments in all countries, rich and poor. It is my hope that this Report contributes to addressing this challenge by sharing the experiences of countries where young people, supported by good policies and institutions, have been able not only to cope but to flourish—and in the process, contribute to a future of hope and opportunity for all generations.

Paul WolfowitzPresidentWorld Bank Group

This Report has been prepared by a core team led by Emmanuel Y. Jimenez and comprising Jean Fares, Varun Gauri, Mattias K. A. Lundberg, David McKenzie, Mamta Murthi, Cristobal Ridao-Cano, and Nistha Sinha. The team was assisted by Amer Hasan, Sarojini Hirshleifer, Natsuko Kiso, and Annette Richter, all of whom also contributed to drafting parts of the Report, as well as Mehmet Ziya Gorpe, Claudio E. Montenegro, and Victor Sulla. Additional contributions were made by Deon Filmer, Paul Gertler, Elizabeth King, and Peter Orazem. The work was conducted under the general guidance of François Bourguignon and Jean-Louis Sarbib. Extensive and excellent advice (including help in preparing background papers) was received from Jere Behrman, Robert Blum, David Lam, and Cynthia Lloyd, to whom the team is grateful without implication.

Many others inside and outside the World Bank provided inputs and helpful comments (see the bibliographic note). The Development Data Group contributed to the data appendix and was responsible for the Selected World Development Indicators. The team would also like to acknowledge the generous support of a multidonor programmatic trust fund, the Knowledge for Change Program. Additional support was also provided by the Hewlett Foundation and the governments of Denmark, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

The team benefited greatly from a wide range of consultations managed by Maya Brahmam, Stephen Commins, Viviana Mangiaterra, Juan Felipe Sanchez, Gerold Thilo Vollmer, and Kavita Watsa. Consultations included events and workshops held in 26 developing countries and a few developed countries in Europe, North America, and Asia, as well as online discussions of the draft. The team wishes to thank participants in these workshops, videoconferences, and discussions, which included staff in country offices, researchers, government officials, staff of nongovernmental and private sector organizations and, of course, the young people themselves. Particularly noteworthy were the efforts in the three countries “spotlighted" in this Report: Brazil, Sierra Leone, and Vietnam.

Rebecca Sugui served as senior executive assistant to the team, Ofelia Valladolid as program assistant, and Jason Victor as team assistant. Evangeline Santo Domingo served as resource management assistant.

Bruce Ross-Larson was the principal editor. Book design, editing, and production were coordinated by the World Bank’s Office of the Publisher under the supervision of Dana Vorisek, Susan Graham, Andrés Meneses, and Randi Park.

Methodological Note

Writing about young people

One of the biggest challenges in writing this Report was that the evidence base was uneven. Data to carry out diagnostic analysis for some topics, such as youth citizenship and migration, were limited. More importantly, there were very few rigorous evaluations of youth programs and policies for any of the transitions and issues covered in the Report. To help address these gaps, the team used consultations and surveys, as described below. It also supported several impact evaluations that were either ongoing or could be concluded within the Report’s timeframe.

Listening to young people

In one of the most elaborate and wide-reaching consultations for a WDR, over 3,000 young people participated in focus group discussions in 26 developing countries: Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso, China, the Dominican Republic, the Arab Republic of Egypt, Georgia, Ghana, Honduras, India, Kenya, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Russian Federation, Sierra Leone, Thailand, Timor Leste, Turkey, Vietnam, and the Republic of Yemen. We consulted youth workers and experts from governments, nongovernmental organizations, partner organizations, and the World Bank to ensure that participants were representative of the youth in their country. From November 2005 to May 2006, these young women and men debated and discussed the Report’s five life transitions. The process was undertaken by the country offices, supported strongly by a joint team of the Children and Youth Unit of the Bank’s Human Development Network, the External Relations Vice-Presidency (EXT), and the WDR. A special effort was made to reach out to young people whose voice is often not heard, such as young women, rural youth, and those living with a disability. The team found the discussions immensely helpful in forming hypotheses, validating quantitative findings, and providing a rich context. Some meetings lasted a few hours, others three days. In a few, members of the core team for this Report engaged directly; in others, they were sent reports, which are available on our Web site, The team also engaged with representatives of global youth organizations and youth leaders in Europe, Japan, and North America, including members of the Bank’s Youth, Development and Peace Network and the Francophonie and the Organización Ibero-Americana de Juventud (OIJ). New media were used for e-discussions and videoconferences with youth leaders from around the globe, as well as for an open youth commentary on the World Bank’s Web site.

The quotations in the margins of this Report were taken from the WDR youth consultations (see Mangiaterra and Vollmer [2006] and consultations) and the e-discussion connected to the Youth Social Technopreneurship Conference in October 2005. For quotations taken from sources other than these, the source is given in an endnote or below the quotation.

Surveying young people

Several of the issues covered in this Report are not covered by existing developing country surveys. To provide insights on these issues, the Report team added questions to nationally representative audience surveys by InterMedia in late 2005 and early 2006 for Albania, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Iraq, Malaysia, Romania, and Tajikistan. In addition, rich data on information and communication technology use and political attitudes were obtained from InterMedia’s survey databank.

A large new database was constructed from existing country household surveys in 97 developing countries, covering all Bank regions and 21 developed countries. For all developed countries and more than half of the developing countries, at least two survey points per country, covering the 1990s and early 2000s, were used for the cross-country comparisons. These data complemented those from the Demographic and Health Surveys (ORC Macro) and Living Standards Measurement Study surveys.

Abbreviations and Data Notes


Abstain-Be faithful-use Condoms

Agence d’Exécution des Travaux d’ Intérêt Public

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome

Antiretroviral therapy

Annual Survey of Education Report (India)

African Virtual University

Body mass index

Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Centro de Defesa da Criança e do Adolescente

Center of Defense of Children and Adolescents

Center for Development and Population Activities

Corporación de Fomento de la Producción (Chile)

Disarmament, demobilization, and rehabilitation

Demographic and Health Surveys

Diptheria, pertussis, tetanus

Early childhood development

Education for All

Employment Protection Legislation

European Union

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Gross domestic product

Gross national income

Gross national product

Human Immunodeficiency virus

Income contingent loan

Information and communication technology

Information education and communication

International Food Policy Research Institute

Individual learning accounts

International Labour Organization

International Monetary Fund

Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama

Intrauterine device

Lord’s Resistance Army

Middle East and North Africa region

Music Television

New Partnership for Africa’s Development

Net enrollment rate

National Family Health Survey

Nongovernmental organization

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Opinion Research Corporation

Oral rehydration therapy

Program to Eradicate Child Labor (Brazil)

Progress in International Reading and Literacy Study

Program for International Student Assessment

Poverty Reduction Strategy

Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper

Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Education

Swedish International Development Agency

Short Messaging Service

Student Partnerships Worldwide

Sexually transmitted disease

Sexually transmitted infection

Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study

Underprivileged Children’s Education Program

Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS

United Nations Development Programme

United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

United Nations Children’s Fund

United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention

U.S. Agency for International Development

World Development Report

World Health Organization

Data notes

Income classifications are based on gross national income (GNP) per capita. Group averages reported in the figures and tables are unweighted averages of the countries in the group, unless noted to the contrary.

The use of the word countries to refer to economies implies no judgment by the World Bank about the legal or other status of a territory. The term developing countries includes low- and middle-income economies and thus may include economies in transition from central planning, as a matter of convenience. The term advanced countries may be used as a matter of convenience to denote high-income economies.

Dollar figures are current U.S. dollars, unless otherwise specified. Billion means 1,000 million; trillion means 1,000 billion.

Serbia and Montenegro is used in this Report either because the event being discussed occurred prior to the independence of the Republic of Montenegro in June 2006 or because separate data for the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Montenegro are not available.

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