Considering there are countries like Syria and, even much closer to home, South Sudan, who are locked in fierce warfare that has demanded intervention from the International Community, it is just a little surprising that a new study by a group representing Commonwealth countries showed that Central African Republic (CAR) is the worst country in the world for young people.
Of course, Central African Republic still experiences violence frequently, despite a February election that, at the time, had been touted as a step towards reconciliation.
Its own warfare is triggered on the grounds of inter-religious violence and has been so since 2013 when the mainly Muslim Seleka militia seized power, prompting reprisals from Christian anti-Balaka forces.
For its study, the group ranked 183 nations on employment, education, health and other prospects for people aged between 15 and 29. The index was released by the Commonwealth Secretariat on Friday.
It concluded on the basis of little or no access to education and healthcare, poor job prospects and low participation levels in politics that the Central African Republic is the worst country for the existence of young people.
Africa in general still has the lowest level of youth development in the world, although significant progress has been made in the last five years according to the index. In fact, all 10 countries which ranked lowest on the index were from sub-Saharan Africa and they include;
- Central African Republic
- Cote d’Ivoire
- Equatorial Guinea
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
On the other side of the coin, Germany topped the index for youth development, followed by Denmark, Australia, Switzerland and Britain. A fine point made in the research was that youth unemployment was a growing concern with young people who are now at least twice as likely as adults to be jobless worldwide.
Abhik Sen, one of the report’s authors said;
“While increases in civic and political participation – though voting or protests for example – in the region are encouraging, they will only get young people so far without corresponding improvements in access to health and education.”
The results of the study are not especially surprising considering that most of the countries that fall into the lower barrel are riddled by fighting or corruption which leaves no space for meaningful advancements in the appropriate areas like, education and infrastructure, that are of great benefit to Africa’s young.