SDGs Library

SDG Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure Progress

Aspects of the prevailing global economic environment have not been conducive to rapid progress on Sustainable Development Goal 9. While financing for economic infrastructure has increased in developing countries and impressive progress has been made in mobile connectivity, countries that are lagging behind, such as least developed countries, face serious challenges in doubling the manufacturing industry’s share of GDP by 2030, and investment in scientific research and innovation remains below the global average.

  • Efficient transportation services are key drivers of economic development, and more than 80 per cent of world merchandise trade by volume is transported by sea, making maritime transport a critical enabler of trade and globalization. International maritime freight increased by an estimated 3.7 per cent globally in 2017 and projected growth will test the capacity of existing maritime transport infrastructure to support increased freight volumes.
  • In 2018, global manufacturing slowed in both developing and developed regions. The slowdown was attributed mainly to emerging trade and tariff barriers that constrained investment and future growth. Despite this slowdown, the global share of GDP in terms of manufacturing value added increased marginally from 15.9 per cent in 2008 to 16.5 per cent in 2015, but stalled at the same level in 2018. The share of manufacturing in least developed countries remained low, posing a serious challenge to the target of doubling the industry’s share of GDP by 2030.
  • Meanwhile, the share of manufacturing employment in total employment declined from 15.3 per cent in 2000 to 14.7 per cent in 2015 and to 14.2 per cent in 2018, as countries gradually reallocated production factors from agriculture and low-value added manufacturing towards high-value added manufacturing and services.
  • The intensity of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from manufacturing industries declined by more than 20 per cent between 2000 and 2016, to 0.30 kg CO2 per United States dollar, showing a general decoupling of CO2 emissions and GDP growth.
  • The proportion of global GDP invested in research and development increased from 1.52 per cent to 1.68 per cent from 2000 to 2016, with Europe and Northern America standing at 2.21 per cent of GDP spent on research and development and most developing regions falling short of the world average in 2016.
  • While there has been an increase in the number of researchers per million inhabitants from 804 in 2000 to 1,163 in 2016, that number reached only 91 in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Total official flows for economic infrastructure in developing countries reached $59 billion in 2017, an increase of 32.5 per cent in real terms since 2010. Within this total, the main sectors assisted were transport ($21.6 billion) and banking and financial services ($13.4 billion).
  • In 2016, medium-high and high-tech sectors accounted for 44.7 per cent of the global manufacturing value added. Medium-high and high-tech products continued to dominate manufacturing production in Northern America and Europe, reaching 47.4 per cent in 2016 compared with 10.4 per cent in least developed countries.
  • Almost all people around the world now live within range of a mobile-cellular network signal, with 90 per cent living within range of a 3G-quality or higher network. This evolution of the mobile network, however, is growing more rapidly than the percentage of the population using the Internet.

Source: Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform (

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