Youth Empowerment, Education and Change of Policies Key to Ensuring Economic Prosperity for Future Generations

Parliaments of the world should collaborate on implementing innovative policies that tackle shared socio-economic challenges, and ensure equitable development for future generations, the panel of experts gathered at the Global Summit of Women Speakers of Parliament (GSWS 2016) emphasised today.

John Defterios, Emerging Markets Editor of CNNMoney led the second panel discussion, titled ‘United to Secure Economic Prosperity for Future Generations’. Panelists included Her Excellency Gabriela Michetti, President of the Senate and Vice President of Argentina, Her Excellency Verónica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo, Speaker of the Mozambique Parliament, Her Excellency Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, Speaker of the Ugandan National Parliament, Her Excellency Blanca Ruiz Alcalá, President of the Latin American and Caribbean Parliament, and Dambisa Moyo, UK global economist and author.

The esteemed panel of global economic experts analysed at length the major challenges that impact economic prosperity at a time when the youth take the foreground as agents of change. According to the participants, these challenges include scarcity of resources, changing demographics and hyper-urbanisation in many regions of the world.

In his opening address, Defterios introduced the speakers and remarked on the forces shaping the future.

Drawing upon the example of Latin America’s recent past, Her Excellency Gabriela Michetti talked about the commodities boom that drove economic growth in Latin America. She said: “Resources were aplenty, and the Asian market was purchasing goods at incredible prices, which helped many poor families out of their condition.”

She added: “However, the fact that the growth was based on the variable of consumption, rather than investment, made it unstable and transient. Now, with dwindling resources and a declining number of buyers in the market, those families and communities are under the threat of reverting to poverty.” She reiterated that the need of the hour is investment-based growth, creating high-quality employment linked to knowledge as well as science and technology.

According to Her Excellency Verónica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo, inclusion of youth in the decision-making process is the best way forward. “The youth need to see politics as an open and welcoming space. Private-public partnerships should be used as a platform to empower the youth, and youth associations as a platform for capacity building, education and career enhancement,” she said, underlining the need to increase health awareness, and to engage the young generation in defending peace and moral values through educating them against drugs and alcoholism.

“Allocate the right resources to the right areas,” said Her Excellency Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, adding that Africa has not been utilising its resources adequately. She rued the fact that despite the high penetration of mobile phones in Africa, the country has not entered the phone manufacturing sector.

She added: “We need to invest in science and technology as well as education that is geared towards innovation.” She emphasised the need for educational facilities even in rural areas so that everyone gets a fair chance.

“The challenges we face today are worse than those in any other time in history,” remarked Her Excellency Blanca Ruiz Alcalá in her speech, listing runaway consumerism, climate change, international organised crime, hate crime, racial and gender intolerance as well as migration in unprecedented numbers as some of the greatest threats that the world is facing today.

She said: “We need laws that guarantee youth development, sufficient, relevant and available budgets, as well as a tax mechanism that has transparency and accountability. Quality education for all is the best way for societies to stay interconnected. We need to have a greater representation of women in the public and private sectors. One woman in politics, and the woman changes. A lot of women, and politics change.”

“The models we relied upon for the past 50 years are no longer working, and the sooner the policy makers understand that this is a different world order, the better,” began Dambisa Moyo in her powerful statement that shed grim light on the current socio-political and economic situation.

Moyo listed six key factors that threaten the future: automation is causing unemployment, alarming growth of population, income inequality with 62 people owning more wealth than the bottom 50 per cent does, scarcity of natural resources, debts at governmental level, and decline of productivity, even across developed nations. She stressed the urgent need for governments, societies and individuals to be responsible and accountable in their strategies and actions.

The session explored at length the necessity to empower the youth with education as well as socio-political and economic support, while simultaneously addressing the current need to ensure sustainability of growth and development measures.