Inclusive and sustainable industrialization, together with innovation and infrastructure, can unleash dynamic and competitive economic forces that generate employment and income. They play a key role in introducing and promoting new technologies, facilitating international trade and enabling the efficient use of resources.
However, the world still has a long way to go to fully tap this potential. Least developed countries, in particular, need to accelerate the development of their manufacturing sector if they are to meet the 2030 target, and scale up investment in scientific research and innovation.
Innovation and technological progress are key to finding lasting solutions to both economic and environmental challenges, such as increased resource and energy efficiency. Globally, investment in research and development (R&D) as a proportion of GDP increased from 1.5 per cent in 2000 to 1.7 per cent in 2015 and remained almost unchanged in 2017, but was only less than 1 per cent in developing regions.
In terms of communications infrastructure, more than half of the world’s population is now online and almost the entire world population lives in an area covered by a mobile network. It is estimated that in 2019, 96.5 per cent were covered by at least a 2G network.
The coronavirus pandemic has revealed the urgent need for resilient infrastructure. The Asian Development Bank notes that critical infrastructure in the region remains far from adequate in many countries, despite the rapid economic growth and development the region has experienced over the past decade. The Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific highlights that making infrastructure resilient to disasters and climate change will require an additional investment of $434 billion per year. This sum may need to be even greater in some subregions, such as the Pacific small island developing states.
Facts & Figures
In 2018, 96 per cent of the world’s population lived within reach of a mobile-cellular signal, and 90 per cent of people could access the Internet through a third generation (3G) or higher-quality network.
16 per cent of the global population does not have access to mobile broadband networks.
The global share of manufacturing value added in GDP increased from 15.2per cent in 2005 to 16.3per cent in 2017, driven by the fast growth of manufacturing in Asia.
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
In 2019, the amount of new renewable power capacity added (excluding large hydro) was the highest ever, at 184 gigawatts, 20GW more than in 2018. This included 118GW of new solar systems, and 61GW of wind turbines.
Capacity investment in solar slipped 3per cent to $131.1 billion in 2019, while that in wind climbed 6per cent to $138.2 billion – the first time that wind has outweighed solar in terms of dollars committed since 2010.
Developing countries continued to outpace developed economies in renewables investment. In 2019, they committed $152.2 billion, compared to $130 billion for developed countries.
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