With many competing demands for scarce funds, countries often do not fully recognize how critical young people are to their national economies, societies, and democracies – both today and in the future – and consequently make too few public investments in programmes to harness their productive resources.
• Preventable risky behaviours induce losses to society that reach into billions of dollars.
• In Latin America and the Caribbean, a range of negative youth behaviours reduces economic growth by up to 2 per cent annually.
• Investing in youth must begin during early childhood and adolescence when life-long patterns of behaviour are established.
• Economic shocks can impair healthy adolescent development, and targeted policies are needed to prevent negative long-term consequences.
• The World Bank finances more than $1 billion dollars per year to support youth investments in education, health and other sectors.