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Pakistan's Youth: A Demographic Dividend for a Healthier Tomorrow

03:19 PM | 26 Aug, 2023
Pakistan's Youth: A Demographic Dividend for a Healthier Tomorrow
Source: Photo: The dayspring

With a growing youth population, the nation stands on the brink of both challenge and opportunity. Currently, over 64% of Pakistan's population is under 30, a demographic trend set to continue until at least 2050. This youth bulge can be harnessed as a driving force for positive change, particularly in the realm of family planning and healthier population management.

Pakistan’s National Human Development Report 2017 offers revealing insights into the current state of our youth. It highlights that only 6% of young individuals have more than 12 years of education, and 29 out of every 100 are illiterate. In terms of employment, 39 out of 100 youth have jobs, with a significant gender disparity. Only 4% are actively searching for work, while 57 out of 100 are neither working nor seeking employment. The report also underscores the lack of connectivity and social engagement space, with limited access to the internet, cell phones, libraries, and sports facilities.

Moreover, around 9.45 million children are not enrolled in primary schools despite Pakistan's constitutional commitment to free education for all. At the current pace, complete enrollment won't be achieved until 2076. However, to meet the global education goal by 2030, the annual net enrolment rate must quadruple from the current rate of 0.92% to 3.8%.

To effectively utilize this youth demographic as a demographic dividend, urgent action is required. Each year, almost 4 million young people enter the working-age population. However, without interventions, the current labour force participation and unemployment rates cannot accommodate this influx. To address this, about 1.3 million jobs need to be created annually over the next five years to improve labour force participation rates and reduce unemployment.

The Delivering Accelerated Family Planning in Pakistan (DAFPAK) program, led by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), recognizes the potential of Pakistan's youth bulge. The KhairKhwah platform, under the DAFPAK program, is a commendable effort to empower young individuals with information about reproductive health and family planning. Yet, to fully realize the demographic dividend, a holistic approach is imperative.

Pakistan must focus on comprehensive education reforms, bridging gender gaps, providing skill development opportunities, and enhancing job prospects. The youth must have access to quality education, equipping them with relevant skills for the workforce. Gender equality initiatives are essential to ensure equal opportunities for all. Moreover, creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurship and innovation will drive economic growth.

By investing in education, skills, and opportunities, we can turn challenges into opportunities. Pakistan's youth can drive progress, healthier families, and economic growth. With concerted efforts from the government, civil society, and international partners like FCDO's DAFPAK, we can ensure that our youth play a pivotal role in shaping a healthier, more prosperous Pakistan for generations to come.

The author is working as Editor Digital Media for Daily Pakistan and can be reached @ItsSarfrazAli.

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Pakistani rupee exchange rate against US dollar, Euro, Pound and Riyal - 23 February 2024

Pakistani rupee remains stable against US dollar and other currencies in the open market on February 23, 2024 (Friday)

US Dollar rate in Pakistan

In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.5 for buying and 282.45 for selling.

Euro comes down to 301 for buying and 304 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 351.5 for buying, and 355 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED hovers at 75.95 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.25.

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 23 Feb 2024

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar ‎USD 279.5 282.45
Euro EUR 301 304
UK Pound Sterling GBP 351.5 355
U.A.E Dirham AED 75.95 76.7
Saudi Riyal SAR 74.25 75
Australian Dollar AUD 181 183
Bahrain Dinar BHD 743.88 751.88
Canadian Dollar CAD 207 209
China Yuan CNY 38.89 39.29
Danish Krone DKK 40.38 40.78
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.76 36.11
Indian Rupee INR 3.37 3.48
Japanese Yen JPY 2.1 2.18
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 908.79 917.79
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 58.60 59.2
New Zealand Dollar NZD 171.68 173.68
Norwegians Krone NOK 26.43 26.73
Omani Riyal OMR 726.53 734.53
Qatari Riyal ‎QAR 76.76 77.43
Singapore Dollar SGD 207 209
Swedish Korona SEK 26.53 26.83
Swiss Franc CHF 317.87 320.87
Thai Bhat THB 7.79 7.94

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