United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation


Related Goals

Targets and Indicators



Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all


Proportion of the rural population who live within 2 km of an all-season road


Passenger and freight volumes, by mode of transport



Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and, by 2030, significantly raise industry’s share of employment and gross domestic product, in line with national circumstances, and double its share in least developed countries


Manufacturing value added as a proportion of GDP and per capita


Manufacturing employment as a proportion of total employment



Increase the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises, in particular in developing countries, to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets


Proportion of small-scale industries in total industry value added


Proportion of small-scale industries with a loan or line of credit



By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities


CO2 emission per unit of value added



Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending


Research and development expenditure as a proportion of GDP


Researchers (in full-time equivalent) per million inhabitants



Facilitate sustainable and resilient infrastructure development in developing countries through enhanced financial, technological and technical support to African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States


Total official international support (official development assistance plus other official flows) to infrastructure



Support domestic technology development, research and innovation in developing countries, including by ensuring a conducive policy environment for, inter alia, industrial diversification and value addition to commodities


Proportion of medium and high-tech industry value added in total value added



Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020


Proportion of population covered by a mobile network, by technology

Progress and Info

The year before COVID-19 triggered the greatest economic crisis in decades, manufacturing value added had seen the slowest year-on-year growth rate since 2012, primarily because of tariff and trade tensions between the most dominant economies. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the manufacturing and transport industries hard, causing job losses and declining incomes for workers in these sectors. The crisis poses unprecedented challenges to global value chains by disrupting both the supply of goods and the demand for them. Small-scale industries have been severely affected by the pandemic and many continue to face existential challenges. However, the COVID-19 crisis also offers opportunities to foster industrialization and bring ground-breaking technologies to developing countries.

Data from 2018-2019 show, in the 25 countries in Africa, Asia, South America, Central Asia and the Middle East where the Rural Access Index was updated using a spatial method, almost 300 million out of 520 million rural dwellers still lack good access to roads.

Maritime freight volumes and global container port traffic weakened in 2019 and expanded at the marginal rates of 0.5% and 2%, respectively, as compared with 2018. With the onset of COVID19, the volume of international maritime freight is projected to fall by 4.1% and global container port traffic to contract by 2.1% in 2020.

The outbreak of COVID-19 impacted manufacturing by disrupting global value chains and restricting the movement of people and goods, resulting in a notable drop of 8.4% in manufacturing production in 2020. The global share of manufacturing value added (MVA) in GDP fell from 16.5% in 2019 to 15.9% in 2020.

Manufacturing in LDCs is expected to grow by a negligible 1.2% in 2020 compared to 8.7% in 2019, helping LDCs to increase their MVA share to 12.8% in 2020 from 10.1% in 2010, but the growth rate is too slow to reach the target of doubling the industry’s share in GDP by 2030. MVA per capita was only $135 in LDCs, compared to $4,194 in Europe and Northern America in 2020.

In 2019, 13.7% of the world’s workers (454 million) were employed in manufacturing activities. This sector has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic. Across 49 countries and territories with data, manufacturing employment declined by an average of 5.6% in the second quarter of 2020 and 2.5% in the third quarter of 2020 compared to the same time periods in 2019.

Small-scale industries have been strongly affected by the pandemic and many continue to face existential challenges. According to survey data from 2006 to 2020, before the crisis, 29.3% of small-scale entrepreneurs benefited from loans or lines of credit, with regional difference. Only 15.7% of small-scale industries in sub-Saharan Africa received loans or lines of credit, compared with 44% in Latin America and the Caribbean

A slight decline in global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fuel combustion was registered in 2019, mainly due to changes in power sources in advanced economies and milder weather conditions across continents, down from 33.5 billion tons in 2018, which was a historical high. The global manufacturing CO2 emissions continued to decline since 2014 and accounted for 5.9 billion tons in 2018. Although the world experienced a historical drop in CO2 emissions due to national lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2020, most economies might resume their usual levels of CO2 emissions as soon as lockdown measures are lifted

The proportion of global GDP invested in R&D grew at a good pace from 1.61% in 2010 to 1.73% in 2018. However, most of the developing regions fell short of the world average, even spending less than 1% of GDP on R&D.

Globally, there has been an increase in the number of researchers per million inhabitants from 1,022 in 2010 to 1,235 in 2018, ranging from 3,847 in Europe and Northern America, to only 99 in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, women represented only 30.5% of global researchers in 2018.

Total official flows for economic infrastructure in developing countries reached $63.6 billion in 2019, an increase by 39.6% in real terms from 2010. Of the total, the main sectors assisted were transport ($21.3 billion) and the banking and financial services sector ($15.3 billion).

In 2018, the share of medium- and high-technology manufacturing in total manufacturing was 49.0% in developed regions and 41.4% in developing regions, compared to only 8.9% in LDCs. The COVID-19 pandemic hit different industries unequally. Medium and high-technology industries, such as pharmaceuticals, computer, electronics or motor vehicles, have recovered faster from the crisis than industries with lower technological intensity.

The rollout of mobile-broadband networks has been slowing down in 2020. Globally, almost 85% of the population was covered by a 4G network at the end of 2020. Between 2015 and 2020, 4G network coverage increased two-fold globally. However, annual growth has been slowing down gradually since 2017, and the coverage in 2020 was only 1.3 percentage points higher than in 2019.

Source: Advance unedited copy of 2021 report of the Secretary-General on Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals