Despite steady improvements in manufacturing output and employment, renewed investment will be needed in the least developed countries to build needed infrastructure and ensure the doubling of industry’s share of GDP in those countries by 2030.
- Efficient transportation services generate employment and wealth and drive economic development. In 2015, the estimated global economic impact (both direct and indirect) of air transport was $2.7 trillion, equivalent to 3.5 per cent of global GDP. The least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States represent far less air travel and freight volumes, with each country group accounting for only 1 per cent to 2.7 per cent of the global total.
- Manufacturing is a principal driver of economic development, employment and social stability. Globally, manufacturing value added as a share of GDP increased from 15.3 per cent in 2005 to 16.2 per cent in 2016. In 2016, manufacturing value added per capita amounted to $4,621 in Europe and Northern America, compared to about $100 in the least developed countries.
- As many countries move to more efficient and less energy-intensive industries, their emissions of carbon dioxide per unit of manufacturing value added are generally declining. From 2000 to 2014, Europe and Northern America reduced their emissions intensity by 36 per cent. All of the 10 largest manufacturing countries saw decreases in their emissions intensity. Such promising trends are not reflected in the global emissions intensity level, however, since a significant share of global manufacturing value added has moved to countries with generally higher intensity levels.
- In 2014, investments in research and development stood at 1.7 per cent of global GDP, up from 1.5 per cent in 2000. Worldwide, there were 1,098 researchers per million inhabitants in 2014, ranging from 63 in the least developed countries to 3,500 in Europe and Northern America.
- ODA for economic infrastructure in developing countries reached $57 billion in 2015, an increase of 32 per cent in real terms since 2010. The main recipient sectors were transport and energy ($19 billion each).
- Manufacturing is increasingly shifting towards more technologically complex products. While medium- and high-tech products continue to dominate manufacturing production in industrialized economies (where they contribute about 80 per cent of total manufacturing output), the share has barely reached 10 per cent in least developed countries.
- Mobile-cellular services have spread rapidly and have allowed people living in previously unconnected areas to join the global information society. In 2016, 95 per cent of the world’s population and 85 per cent of people in the least developed countries were covered by a mobile-cellular signal.
Source: Report of the Secretary-General, "Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals", E/2017/66
- Goal 9 encompasses three important aspects of sustainable development: infrastructure, industrialization and innovation. Infrastructure provides the basic physical systems and structures essential to the operation of a society or enterprise. Industrialization drives economic growth, creates job opportunities and thereby reduces income poverty. Innovation advances the technological capabilities of industrial sectors and prompts the development of new skills.
- An important component of physical infrastructure is air shipping and air travel. In 2014, 45 per cent of all air passengers originated from developing regions; 55 per cent originated from developed regions. However, in the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, air passenger volume was extremely low, making up only 0.8 per cent, 0.8 per cent and 1.4 per cent, respectively, of the global total. Similar patterns are found for freight volumes in air transit: the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States made up only 1.1 per cent, 0.9 per cent and 2.6 per cent of the global total, respectively, in 2014.
- Manufacturing is a foundation of economic development, employment and social stability. In 2015, the share of manufacturing value added in terms of GDP of developed regions was estimated at 13 per cent, a decrease over the past decade owing largely to the increasing role of services in developed regions. In contrast, the share of manufacturing value added in GDP remained relatively stagnant for developing regions, increasing marginally from 19 per cent in 2005 to 21 per cent in 2015. Those values hide substantial differences, with manufacturing value added contributing over 31 per cent to GDP in Eastern Asia and 10 per cent or less in both sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania. The least developed countries face particular challenges in industrializing. Although those countries represent 13 per cent of the global population, they contribute less than 1 per cent of global manufacturing value added. Worldwide, about 500 million people are employed in manufacturing. While manufacturing job numbers have fallen in industrialized countries, they have steadily increased in developing countries. In the least developed countries, agricultural and traditional sectors remain the main sources of employment.
- In developing countries, small-scale industries accounted for an estimated 15 per cent to 20 per cent of value added and 25 per cent to 30 per cent of total industrial employment in 2015. However, access to financial services in those countries remains a problem. Globally, the credit gap for small and medium enterprises (defined as having between 5 and 99 employees) was estimated at $3.2 trillion to $3.9 trillion in 2012. In emerging markets, between 45 per cent and 55 per cent of all small and medium enterprises are unserved or underserved by financial services.
- As the structure of world economies shifts to less energy-intensive industries and countries implement policies for enhanced energy efficiency, almost all regions have shown a reduction in carbon intensity of GDP. Global carbon dioxide emissions per unit of value added showed a steady decline between 1990 and 2013, a decrease of about 30 per cent.
- Innovation and the creation of new and more sustainable industries are spurred by investments in research and development. Global expenditure on research and development as a proportion of GDP stood at 1.7 per cent in 2013. However, this figure masks wide disparities. expenditure on research and development was 2.4 per cent of GDP for developed regions, 1.2 per cent for developing regions, and below 0.3 per cent for the least developed countries and landlocked developing countries. The number of researchers per 1 million inhabitants showed a similar pattern. While the global average was 1,083 researchers per 1 million inhabitants, the ratio ranged from 65 per 1 million in the least developed countries to 3,641 per 1 million in developed regions.
- Total official flows for economic infrastructure in developing regions reached $59.5 billion in 2014. The main sectors receiving assistance were transport and energy.
- Infrastructure and economic development also rely on information and communications technology. Mobile cellular services have spread rapidly around the world, allowing people in previously unconnected areas to join the global information society. By 2015, the percentage of the population living in areas covered by mobile broadband networks stood at 69 per cent globally. In rural areas, the share was only 29 per cent.