Nigerian youth have been ranked the least happy in the world in the first ever Youth Wellbeing Index released on Friday by the International Youth Foundation, IYF, and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, CSIS.

According to IYF and CSIS, the Youth Wellbeing Index is aimed at “promoting increased attention to and consultation with and investment in young people as catalysts for development, prosperity and security.”

The study was done in 30 countries, representing nearly 70 per cent of the world’s youth population; defined as people between 12 -24 years old. It rated the wellbeing of youth using six interconnected aspect of the lives of youth across the world; namely, “citizen participation, economic opportunity, education, health, information and communications technology (ICT), and safety and security.”

The study revealed a grim wellbeing of the Nigerian youth compared to youth from other surveyed countries. The Nigerian youth was ranked at the bottom of five out of the six surveyed aspects. The country was still ranked below the top 15 in its best-ranked domain – citizen participation – where it was ranked in the 17th position.

Underscoring the dire condition of Nigeria youth, the study specifically pointed that of all countries surveyed “the quality of life for Nigerian youth has the most scope to improve.”

The country was ranked at the 27th position in the area of economic opportunities for youth. The least ranked countries in that category are Egypt, Jordan and South Africa.  This ranking did not probably come as a surprise as youth unemployment in the country is at an all time high. The National Bureau of Statistics puts the figure of youth unemployment at over 54 per cent; although some analysts believe the true figure may be close to the 80 percentile.

In February, about a million youth applied for the 4,500 available positions in the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS. At least 17 people died from stampedes caused by poor crowd management at venues of the exam across the country.

Also, according to the report, Nigeria has the worst education of all the countries surveyed. The country was ranked last.

Nigeria’s education sector has been characterised by incessant industrial actions by teachers, poor equipment, mismanagement, and corruption. Nigerian youth are considered the world’s highest seekers of educations in other parts of the world.

Other African countries did not also do well in the survey in education. Ghana, one of the preferred destinations for Nigerians seeking better education, was ranked 24 out of 30.  Kenya, Egypt, Morocco, Uganda, and Tanzania were ranked 23, 25, 27, 28 and 29 respectively.

Nigeria also had a poor rating in health as it was ranked 29th, only better than Uganda which was ranked as the worst in provision of health services for its youth population.

In the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Nigeria was ranked 25th.

Again, Nigeria was ranked last for safety and security for its youth.

Overall, Australian youth were ranked as the happiest in the world. The country was rated in the top ten in all of the aspects considered in the survey. It was rated as being the best in education as well as the second best in health. It was rated number 4 in economic opportunities and 5th in safety and security. Other countries ranked in the top five were Sweden, South Korea, United Kingdom and Germany. Despite ranking the best in economic opportunity, the United States of America was ranked overall 6th position.

Hilton Worldwide provided financial support for the report.

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