Investments in transport, irrigation, energy and information and communications technology have been crucial to driving economic growth and empowering communities in many countries. The job multiplication effect of industrialisation has a positive impact on society, as 1.1 jobs in manufacturing creates 2.2 jobs in other sectors. The manufacturing sector is an important employer, accounting for around 14.2% of the world’s workforce of 2.9 billion. It has long been recognised that a strong physical network of industry and communication can enhance productivity and incomes, and improve health, wellbeing and education. Technological progress similarly enhances our wellbeing as countries, and can also improve the state of the planet through increased resource and energy efficiency.

The story of industrial development has been an important determinant of the course of our history as a community of nations. From the first steam engines to the first assembly lines, to today’s truly global production chains and processes, industry has changed our economies and helped drive major changes in our societies. But without sustainable practices and infrastructure in place, our growth has left vast sections of people behind. More than 937 million of the world’s population in 2016 do not have access to electricity. For many lower-income countries, the existent infrastructure constraints affect firm productivity by around 40%.

Through SDG 9, countries have determined that investing in more resilient infrastructure, cooperating across borders, and encouraging small enterprises will all be critical to ensuring sustainable industrial development. We will also have to improve our existing industrial infrastructure, and here, technological innovation will be key. Governments and businesses will have to contribute to creating a hospitable policy environment for innovation, encourage scientific research, and improve access to information technology universally.

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