Child and Youth Development - Investing in Your Country's Children and Youth Today - Good Policy, Smart Economics

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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 dedicate too few resources to harness their productive capacity. Policymakers should treat expenditure on children and youth as a public investment that generates returns to society through higher economic growth, reduced social costs, and increased quality of life for all. Given the cumulative nature of human development, underinvestments in children and youth are difficult to reverse later in life, and the price for society is high. It is more effective to invest early in life than to repair later, when badly equipped adults turn out to be unskilled, unemployed, or unhealthy. Therefore, allocating sufficient public resources to child and youth development, even in times of economic stress and budgetary constraints, is a sine qua non for a country’s development and competitiveness.

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