Reducing inequalities

Evidence from developing countries shows that children in the poorest 20 per cent of the population are up to three times more likely to die before their fifth birthday than children in the richest quintiles.


Inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, together with innovation and infrastructure, can unleash the dynamic and competitive economic forces that generate employment and income. These play a key role in introducing and promoting new technologies, facilitating international trade and enabling the efficient use of resources.

However, there is still a long way to go before the world can fully exploit this potential. Least developed countries in particular need to accelerate the development of their manufacturing sectors if they are to achieve the 2030 target and increase investment in scientific research and innovation.

Growth in the global manufacturing sector has been steadily declining, even before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic is severely affecting manufacturing industries and is causing disruptions in global value chains and product supply.

Innovation and technological progress are key to discovering lasting solutions to economic and environmental challenges, such as increasing energy and resource efficiency. Globally, investment in research and development (R&D) as a percentage of GDP increased from 1.5% in 2000 to 1.7% in 2015, and continued at almost the same level in 2017. However, in developing regions it was less than 1 %.

In terms of communications infrastructure, more than half of the world's population is now connected and almost the entire global population lives in an area with mobile network coverage. It is estimated that by 2019, 96.5% of the population had at least 2G network coverage.