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Sustainable Development Goals: ICT's Influence

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 17 global goals set by the United Nations in 2015 to transform our world. Also known as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, their purpose is to make our planet a better place for all. Huawei supports these global goals and is a contributor through ICT. As our corporate mission is to bring digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world, we believe that ICT is critical contributor and enabler of UN’s SDGs, helping to quicken their reach and achievement.

Why is it important to accelerate progress?

These numbers express the enormity of the challenge. The United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aims to change our world. The objective is to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for everyone. Each goal needs to be met by 2030 – only 12 years away.

Transforming our world:
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Digital accelerates critical progress towards achieving the SDGs

49 Countries
90% GDP
78% Population

The benchmark provides an assessment of a country’s connectivity level and progress towards the SDGs. It assesses the current status of 49 countries, where digital can provide the greatest breakthroughs, and the pathway for digitally-enabled sustainable development.

Where can ICT breakthrough?

The top 3 SDGs most correlated to ICT

SDG 4: Quality Education
(73% correlation with ICT)

The path to a more sustainable future starts with education. Investment in ICT provides an effective and low-cost solution for children and adults to access information and educational resources. When everyone goes to school, education provides skills for life – and no one gets left behind.

SDG 3: Good Health & Well-Being (71% correlation with ICT)

Up to 6 million children still die each year before their fifth birthday: from childbirth, lack of vaccinations or proper food. ICT infrastructure can improve health coverage, and provide access to affordable medicines and vaccines for all. Digital access can help make healthcare access a lifelong right for every person.

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (65% correlation with ICT)

Digital connectivity has spread globally, but high-speed broadband is less widespread. Improved ICT infrastructure in rural communities, for example, can provide more equal opportunity, especially in under developed economies. With high-quality connectivity through ICT, the full potential of industries, infrastructure can make all our lives better.

The impact of digital

Four cases of digital and SDG progress

How digital technologies energise and accelerate progress towards sustainable development in Argentina, United Arab Emirates, South Africa and Philippines.


A leader within Latin America. Argentina has seen massive growth in mobile-cellular services over the past two decades and has high internet usage rates. It continues to improve access to more remote areas of the country.

Argentina does not perform as well on ICT as it does on the SDGs, though it scores above average and on all ICT indicators (Access, Use, and Skills).

As one of the higher scoring Up-and-Comers, Argentina is poised to become a Leader. ICT could further enable improvement on SDG 9 and help it transition to a Leader.


UAE ranks higher than most middle- income countries, but lower than most high-income peers. Its total score is driven by ICT, which is higher than its SDG score, a similar pattern to many of the Leaders, though the UAE is currently categorized as an Up-and-Comer.

Its National Innovation Strategy links innovation, technology and SDGs, such as education, health and renewable energy. Smart city initiatives have supported SDG progress as well. However, the UAE performs better on ICT than on the SDGs, indicating that there is still more to leverage from ICT to support SDG progress, especially relating to SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), and SDG 7 (Clean energy).


South Africa has one of the most sophisticated networks of ICT infrastructure on the African continent and is the largest data center market in Africa.

The 2013 South Africa Connect plan aims to achieve average broadband speeds of 100 Mbit/s by 2030. Though it scores below average on ICT, a competitive market has enabled South Africa to achieve the level of ICT development it has thus far and create a strong foundation for future improvement.

As an Up-and-Comer, South Africa can likely find opportunity to improve SDGs 3 (health) and 4 (education) in order to move up in the Benchmark, as both of these SDGs are highly correlated with ICT.


While the Philippines has achieved basic mobile access, its overall ICT score is below the Benchmark average, and there are many opportunities for additional ICT development, especially outside major cities.

The Philippines is categorized as a Pioneer and has room for growth on both ICT and SDG progress. Like its peers, the Philippines scores significantly higher on SDGs than on ICT development.

Areas for improvement are SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), SDG 5 (Gender), SDG 3 (Health) and SDG 4 (Education), which are all highly correlated with ICT.

ICT Sustainable Development Goals Benchmark

A report by Huawei and SustainAbility

Published: June 12, 2018

This benchmark captures the impact of ICT on the SDGs from an national perspective and provides insight to help accelerate the creation of a more sustainable world.

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