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What’s the Relationship between Youth, Open Government, and Development?

Felipe Estefan's picture
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Youth demand openness
Percentage of youth who said they want their government to be more open. Source: Global Opening Government Survey

We live in a time unlike any other in our history.
 
Today, many more of us have more tools to more quickly exchange more knowledge and expertise than ever before.
 
We also have the largest youth population in history: 1.2 billion between the ages of 15 and 24.
 
The figures are staggering all across the world. The Middle East has its largest youth population in history, nearing 100 million people ages 15-29. That constitutes 30% of the region’s population. Nigeria, estimated to have nearly 1 billion people by the year 2100, today has a predominantly young population.  
 
When we discuss boosting shared prosperity and eliminating extreme poverty, we must discuss youth. 90% of youth currently live in developing countries. Over 225 million are “idle” – with no training, schooling, or employment.
 
Development, at its core, is about the future of youth. Fortunately, they are more equipped than ever before to help shape that future. Thanks to prevalence of technology.
 
Mobile penetration is skyrocketing around the world. In countries like Colombia, there are more cell phones than people. The same is true for places ranging from Estonia to Hong Kong to Tunisia. 
 
While technology is not the solution to all problems, its rising pervasiveness does serve to set the infrastructure for a more fluid two-way conversation between citizens and their governments that will more directly address citizens’ needs and desires.
 
Open government – increased transparency and citizen participation – is the ideal framework to ensure that youths actively participate in the decision-making processes.
 
In the “Global Opening Government Survey,” youth overwhelmingly supported increased openness.
 
Without true and inclusive youth participation, we can’t have meaningful open government. And with no open government, we are less likely to have governments that are as effective as they can be.
 
That’s why we want to facilitate the conversation on how youth can help governments be more open. On Feb. 25, we’ll host a live Google+ Hangout on World Bank Live, and we want you to join us to discuss how youth can help governments be more open.
 
Help us explore the answers to questions such as: How can young people help their governments be more open? What are the incentives and opportunities for governments to engage with their youth population? How can young people leverage new technologies to help their governments be more transparent and listen to citizens’ needs and feedback?

To participate in the conversation, register and submit your questions now. We’ll also take your questions and comments live with the hashtag #OpenGovNow.
 
See you on Feb. 25 at 9 a.m. ET/14:00 GMT!
 

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