Investments in infrastructure – transport, irrigation, energy and information and communication technology – are crucial to achieving sustainable development and empowering communities in many countries. It has long been recognized that growth in productivity and incomes, and improvements in health and education outcomes require investment in infrastructure.

Inclusive and sustainable industrial development is the primary source of income generation, allows for rapid and sustained increases in living standards for all people, and provides the technological solutions to environmentally sound industrialization.

Technological progress is the foundation of efforts to achieve environmental objectives, such as increased resource and energy-efficiency. Without technology and innovation, industrialization will not happen, and without industrialization, development will not happen.

Industry, innovation and infrastructure – Why it matters (PDF)

  • Basic infrastructure like roads, information and communication technologies, sanitation, electrical power and water remains scarce in many developing countries
  • About 2.6 billion people in the developing world are facing difficulties in accessing electricity full time
  • 2.5 billion people worldwide lack access to basic sanitation and almost 800 million people lack access to water, many hundreds of millions of them in Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia
  • 1-1.5 billion people do not have access to reliable phone services
  • Quality infrastructure is positively related to the achievement of social, economic and political goals
  • Inadequate infrastructure leads to a lack of access to markets, jobs, information and training, creating a major barrier to doing business
  • Undeveloped infrastructures limits access to health care and education
  • For many African countries, particularly the lower-income countries, the existent constraints regarding infrastructure affect firm productivity by around 40 per cent
  • Manufacturing is an important employer, accounting for around 470 million jobs worldwide in 2009 – or around 16 per cent of the world’s workforce of 2.9 billion. In 2013, it is estimated that there were more than half a billion jobs in manufacturing
  • Industrialization’s job multiplication effect has a positive impact on society. Every one job in manufacturing creates 2.2 jobs in other sectors
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises that engage in industrial processing and manufacturing are the most critical for the early stages of industrialization and are typically the largest job creators. They make up over 90 per cent of business worldwide and account for between 50-60 per cent of employment
  • In countries where data are available, the number of people employed in renewable energy sectors is presently around 2.3 million. Given the present gaps in information, this is no doubt a very conservative figure. Because of strong rising interest in energy alternatives, the possible total employment for renewables by 2030 is 20 million jobs
  • Least developed countries have immense potential for industrialization in food and beverages (agro-industry), and textiles and garments, with good prospects for sustained employment generation and higher productivity
  • Middle-income countries can benefit from entering the basic and fabricated metals industries, which offer a range of products facing rapidly growing international demand
  • In developing countries, barely 30 per cent of agricultural production undergoes industrial processing. In high-income countries, 98 per cent is processed. This suggests that there are great opportunities for developing countries in agribusiness

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 18
  • 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
  • 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

Related news

UN report explores ways urbanization can be a catalyst for rural development

One way to encourage mutually beneficial developments for urban and rural areas alike is to develop value chains and food systems more efficient and inclusive, a United Nations-backed report examining the ‘quiet revolution’ towards sustainable urbanization has found.

Read More

The stars of Shark Tank show support for the Sustainable Development Goals

Read More

UN Data Forum opens in South Africa to harness power of data for sustainable development

Organized by the UN in cooperation with the South African government, the four-day gathering also aims to rally support behind a new global action plan.

Read More

Urgency in closing the digital divide voiced at conclusion of Internet Governance Forum

In four days of intense debates and discussions on the future of the Internet, the Forum heard calls for concerted actions to ensure that the benefits of the Internet reach all members of society.

Read More

Related videos