Nations investing in technology infrastructure make faster, more efficient progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), according to a report released by Huawei today in London, England. The study assesses correlations between ICT (Information and Communications Technology) and progress in meeting SDGs in 49 countries.
According to the 2018 Huawei ICT Sustainable Development Benchmark, Huawei found that ICT development is 91% correlated with progress on the SDGs. This suggests that ICT is a leading indicator for sustainable development. This represents an improvement on last year’s results even though the number of countries analysed increased from 15 to 49.
Six key SDGs were reviewed, including: Health and Well Being (SDG 3), Quality Education (SDG 4), Gender Equality (SDG 5), Clean Energy (SDG 7), Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG 9), and Sustainable Cities (SDG 11).
The report found SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being), SDG 4 (Quality Education), and SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) have the highest levels of correlation with ICT, suggesting digital technology can provide breakthrough in these areas and accelerate country performance. This is especially true for developing economies, where small investments in ICT are coupled with rapid SDG gains.
The study shows ICT (Information and Communications Technology) Access, Use, and Skills are clearly linked with a country’s sustainable development. Each nation was grouped into three clusters – Leaders, Up-and-Comers, and Pioneers. Countries that perform well in ICT also do well in progress on the SDGs, while countries that underperform on ICT also lag on SDG achievement.
“Huawei believes that stimulating the potential of digital technology will help solve society’s most urgent development challenges,” said Kevin (Jingwen) Tao, Chairman of Huawei’s Corporate Sustainable Development Committee, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. “If a country fails to seize the opportunities brought about by digital technology, the country’s economic and social development may slow down.”
“This study is shows that digital infrastructure is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 – only 12 years away,” said Tao. “We have extended the scope of the report from last year and focused on whether digital connectivity is able to contribute to the sustainable development of society. For example, ICT technology may contribute to lifelong education, create greater economic value, create jobs, and reduce inequality.”
“We hope that this report will enable people to fully realize the importance of ICT and hope it provides support for relevant policy analysis, so as to create a more intelligent world with greater prosperity, tolerance, and sustainable development.” said Tao.