Earlier this month I was deeply honored to be selected as a “Case Challenge” facilitator at the World Bank Group (WBG) Youth Summit, the world’s largest annual youth gathering from around the world at the World Bank headquarter, Washington, DC. I led and facilitated the young, inspiring and dynamic delegates from the MENA region (including Pakistan and Bangladesh) on Smart City Solutions Case Challenge. The delegates were not just only passionate but have had the knowledge of group pedagogic which they reflected at every single phase of case solution over the course of the two days.

Under the guidance and the supervision of facilitators (the young professionals with experience of smart cities, urban development and/or engagement with youth) and the subject matter expert from Deloitte, the delegates came up with several tech-based action-oriented business and policy level solutions to address the world most pressing issues to impact the lives of developing world people.

The WBG Youth Summit is an annual event hosted by the World Bank Group (WBG) to engage with youth globally on the most pressing topics facing our generation. The primary goals of the summit were to (1) empower youth to explore innovative ideas to tackle emerging development challenges, (2) provide youth with the tools to build and engage in impact projects, and (3) promote dialogue between youth, the WBG, and other key stakeholders globally.

The youth delegates whom I led were beyond the traditional innovators; they were self-confident, they had a belief in their own ability to succeed and were aware that their belief would play a role in how they think, how they act, and how they feel about their place in the world. For them, they were the future of the world and were ready to strive to develop the self-efficacy construct among the youth around them for the best possible future.

“The theme for 2019 WBG Youth Summit was the Smarter Cities for a Resilient Future. This year they introduced activity-based learning, called the Smart City Solutions Case Challenge with a concept of collaborative engagement between delegates, the WBG, and facilitators.”

Kudos to them for championing the smart city solutions for a more resilient future with the sustainable business model by working on fictional case challenges with their devoted work, and swift assessment and thinking to address the issues of rapid urbanization.
There is a dire need to understand the importance of the digital ecosystem and our role that we can play in developing economies by encouraging people to kick off tech-based interventions. We need an environment, a regulatory environment that helps to create a tech positive regulatory, normative and cognitive institutional context. It will lead our young talent in the situation that increases the entrepreneurial potential for smart cities.

As per the world bank statistics, 68 percent of the young population (age 15 to 29) reside in developing countries. South Asia represents 26.40%, East Asia, and Pacific represents 25.37% and
WBG Youth Summit 2019 Theme
The theme for 2019 WBG Youth Summit was the Smarter Cities for a Resilient Future. This year they introduced activity-based learning, called the Smart City Solutions Case Challenge with a concept of collaborative engagement between delegates, the WBG, and facilitators.
Sub Saharan Africa represents 16.23% of the total young population of the world. Despite having a high youth population, it would not be an offense to say that the chances and choices for the developing country youth are persistently eroded with increased risk. A growing number of youths are experiencing that they and their potential ideas have no place in the so-called legitimate business, social and political structures of our system. This unwelcoming and risky structure has very destructive impacts on young change-makers.

Why youth?
“It is pertinent to note that any initiative of human development is incomplete without considering youth engagement; a phenomenon likely to have a profound impact on the world’s future, given the ratio of the young population. Currently, 23 percent of the world population is between 15 and 29. The world now has more young people than it has ever had, and this is forecasted to continue to increase until at least 2050.”

We must understand in current environment youth are the key stakeholders, and digital solutions are the critical interventions in all the questions that refer to sustainable development, viability, and resilient future. Youth has the right to a resilient future and the freedom to championed it by being part of the transformational process. Therefore, the say of youth must be considered as a key input and their involvement in the process of sustainable development is vital for creating a smart city for a resilient future.
I would sum-up this article by saying that the collaborative thinking, creativity, innovation, ideas, and courage of young minds of the world should be mobilized for the better, more sustainable and resilient future for all where we don’t leave anyone behind.