Of all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), African countries are clearly on track to achieve SDG 9, which aims for sustainable industrialization that benefits all and encourages innovation. Nearly 4 out of five people on the African continent own a cell phone, the world’s fastest-growing mobile phone market. However, the annual report on the MDGs in Africa points to delays and disparities in the expansion of rural roads.
Internet connectivity and cell phone penetration are the anchor points for Africa’s progress towards the ninth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 9), namely to achieve inclusive and sustainable industrialization, combined with innovation and infrastructure, by 2030. The 2023 Africa SDG Report reveals that the continent is on track in terms of mobile network coverage and that, based on current trends, Africa will reach the goal corresponding to Objective 9 by the deadline set by the United Nations.
Figures collected by the Cluster Digital Africa platform show that nearly 4 out of every five people on the African continent own a cell phone. With almost 725 million cell phone users, the continent is the fastest-growing mobile phone market in the world.
Lack of transport infrastructure
Africa’s progress on SDG9 does not, however, cover all the targets (sub-goals) of this goal. The continent is lagging behind when it comes to transport infrastructure. According to new estimates by the African Development Bank (AfDB), $130 to $170 billion a year would be needed to develop the continent’s infrastructure, with a financing gap of between $68 and $108 billion.
The 2023 SDG report therefore calls for accelerated construction and expansion of rural roads to achieve rural connectivity and regional integration to bridge the gap between urban and rural areas. According to the document, this will advance intra-African trade and thus facilitate the full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
Entitled « Accelerating recovery from the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 at all levels », The 2023 Report on Sustainable Development in Africa was published on the sidelines of the 78th General Assembly of the United Nations, by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).