This year’s Population Reference Bureau (PRB) datasheet projects global youth population – ages 15 to 24 – at 1.4 billion in 2050. The current figure is 1.2 billion. The datasheet shows that global adolescent fertility rate – among ages 15 to 19 – is 50 births per 1,000 women but the regional disparity is stark as most of these are taking place in less-developed countries. Compared to only 16 births per 1,000 adolescents in developed countries, the rate in less-developed countries is 54 per 1,000. In its Vision 2025, the Government of Pakistan has vowed to ‘channelise and streamline the energies of Pakistan’s youth population and realise their immense economic potential’. The vision notes in particular the need for development of a knowledge-based industry that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship among the youth. While Vision 2025 focuses primarily on our youth’s economic promise -and this is consistent with the national resolve to capitalise on Pakistan’s demographic dividend – Pakistan’s 61 million young citizens can also be key enablers of wider socio-economic development outcomes. Pakistan is among countries with the largest youth populations in the world. Youth comprise around 60% of the country’s population, meaning three out of every five Pakistanis fall in the youth category. Promotion of entrepreneurship among the youth seems almost a natural choice, partly due to the lack of employment opportunities and partly because of the culture of family-run businesses – particularly in clothing, food and retail sectors where the charge of a business is transferred from one generation to the next and so on. Empowering young minds with a well rounded, contemporary and balanced education along with the instruction of moral values and religious tolerance will be the best possible investment on them Meanwhile, Pakistani youth are facing multiple problems and if these aren’t properly addressed, the country runs the risk of converting this valuable human resource into a burden. The main and foremost problem is related to the prevalent education system in the country. Currently, there are multiple systems running side-by-side. There are government-run institutes, private institutes catering to different socio-economic strata and religious seminaries or madrassas. From the above overview, it is obvious that Pakistani youth is ready to play its role in all spheres of life. However a comprehensive response to tap this resource demands a holistic response. The first and the foremost ingredient of such a response will be related to the education sector. Empowering the young minds with a well rounded, contemporary and balanced education along with the instruction of moral values and religious tolerance will be the best possible investment on them. Education of women also needs to be given equal focus and priority. Educated youth can then be relied upon to spread knowledge at primary and secondary educational level by introducing compulsory teaching tenure for university students in far-flung areas of the country that have poor literacy rates. To inculcate leadership skills in the youth, model united nation competitions could be introduced at schools, colleges and universities. Establishing and strengthening youth parliaments at divisional and provincial levels will also be beneficial for the purpose. Keeping in view the greater exposure of today’s young generation to electronic media and the Internet, one can expect their young fertile minds to be more capable of coming up with innovative ideas. Proper guidance may still be required to channelise these ideas into the right direction. The development of organisations like small- and medium- enterprise development forums with involvement of various chambers of commerce can prove helpful. Consortiums can also be formed with the help of established businesses in this regard. In conclusion, the energies of young population needs to be channelised keeping in mind Pakistan’s national goals and policies. Human resource management techniques need to be applied prudently. Misguided and direction-less young population can worsen the situation of socio-economic development indicators in the country. The young minds of Pakistan are a reservoir of energy, talent and capabilities. If regulated properly they can assist in development of the country. In view of the scale and complexity of Pakistan’s youth challenge and the need for urgency, it is essential that government and non-governmental stakeholders work together, dovetailing their specific contributions within a shared and clearly articulated framework of priorities and action, and ensuring that the most is made of limited resources by avoiding overlap and maximising synergy. The lack of easily available data on government, donor and NGO efforts on youth is a telling sign that coordination must improve substantially if we are to collectively invest where and when young people most need our support. Published in Daily Times, August 211st 2017.