To address the last question on developed versus developing, urban versus rural etc. -- Last year, we commissioned the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to conduct research entitled Accelerating Pathways that would bring new insights on how cities are harnessing the power of their youth population. Feeding into the overall project was a youth survey – an opportunity to gain first hand insights into the aspirations and perceptions of young people: More than 5,000 young people between the ages of 18 and 25 were surveyed, across 35 cities.
While situations differ between developing and developed markets, rural and urban settings, and gender, broadly speaking, common themes emerged across the 35 cities. Young people the world over expressed interest in working for themselves, and this entrepreneurial spirit is consistently high from the world's richest cities to the poorest. We also found that the gender pay gap persists; men earn at least 20% more than women in the 18-25 year-old age group. In addition, the majority of youth surveyed see computer skills as critical to success yet internet access remains unavailable to most.
We continue to leverage this research to help inform our grant making strategy. In many cases, it reinforced what we are already hearing form our community partners; it’s providing us with a solid rationale for investing in entrepreneurship (including female entrepreneurship); and for investing in online training and education.
But we all know too well, that there is no one size fits all, that we must continue to push ourselves and those we partner with to tap into new ideas and innovations and contribute meaningfully to support today’s youth and their economic journeys.