Sustainable Development Goal 9 addresses three important aspects of sustainable development: infrastructure, industrialization and innovation. Infrastructure provides the basic physical facilities essential to business and society; industrialization drives economic growth and job creation, thereby reducing income inequality; and innovation expands the technological capabilities of industrial sectors and leads to the development of new skills.
Building sustainable and robust infrastructure
The share of the rural population living within 2 kilometers of a road in good condition is measured through the Rural Access Index3 and is a useful indicator for governments planning their transport infrastructure (target 9.1). Data availability is limited, but advances in digital technology allow better assessment of population distribution and transport infrastructure location and quality. In Mozambique only an estimated 19 percent of the rural population lives within 2 kilometers of a good road, which means that about 14.5 million rural residents lack access (figure 9a). In Kenya an estimated 57 percent of the rural population lives within 2 kilometers of a good road; about 13.5 million rural residents lack access (figure 9b).
The untapped manufacturing potential of the least developed countries suggests significant growth opportunities
Manufacturing is one of the principal engines of economic growth. However, inequalities in the value added in the manufacturing sector point to the steep challenges faced by the most disadvantaged countries, as well as their potential for growth. For example, in 2015, manufacturing value added (MVA) per capita was less than 100 US dollars a year in the least developed countries (LDCs) compared to 4,926 US dollars in developed regions. Significant investment is needed in the LDCs to boost technological progress and economic growth, and to achieve the target of doubling industry’s share in the gross domestic product of these countries. Trends in MVA show steady increases in developing regions and a slight decline in developed regions, which is similar to trends in manufacturing jobs. The potential for growth in manufacturing employment is particularly high in the LDCs, because large segments of the population continue to work in agricultural and traditional sectors.