Probably it is not the first time we hear the phrase “young people are the world’s future”, and that’s because today, young people account for more than a quarter of the world’s population. The number of people between 10 and 24 years is about 1.8 billion individuals, who could definitely generate a very important socio-cultural transformation. Only in Latin America and the Caribbean, there are 165 million individuals in these ages, out of a total of 618 million inhabitants.
The Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs estimates that the number of people aged between 10 and 24 will reach about 2 billion individuals by the middle of this century.
Faced with this reality, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has analyzed the enormous potential for economic growth and social development of countries that have large populations of young people. Also, the United Nations Population Fund warns about the risks that may exist if these countries do not pay special attention to young people.
On the other hand, whether young people acquire or not HIV, will depend on the response of each country. According to the executive director of UNFPA, Babatunde Osotimehin, investments in education, health and employment are fundamental to determine a common future. However, currently young women have low levels of access to contraceptives. Approximately 22% of women between 15 and 24 are HIV positive.
Investing in young people will allow developing countries to obtain a demographic dividend that will help them to reduce poverty and improve their quality of life. The demographic dividend is understood as the economic growth potential that can occur as a result of the changes recorded in the age structure of a certain population, especially when the proportion of the active population (between 15 and 64 years) is higher than that of the population that is not in active age (14 years old and under or 65 years and older).
In 2000, world leaders pledged to achieve “The Millennium Goals” (MDGs), which were focused on overcoming poverty and hunger, lack of access to primary education, genders inequality, child mortality, maternal health and reproductive deficient, HIV, the deterioration of the environment and the structural obstacles, so countries can overcome poverty. In order to achieve these goals there are few days left, as well as to implement the sustainable development agenda, which seeks to create a sensitive, fair and prosperous world in which all people, regardless of age, can enjoy their rights and live with dignity and hope.
Whether these objectives are met or not, depends that all countries are at the height of the challenges and opportunities.
Undoubtedly, youth are those who will take the decisions that will define our future and many of those decisions will depend on the bases that we build in the present.