2019 Huawei ICT Sustainable Development Goals Benchmark

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 17 global goals set by the United Nations in 2015 to transform our world. It’s a blueprint for a better and more sustainable future for all. The goals put forward the global challenges we face, including challenges related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace and justice. These goals are associated with each other to prevent any one from falling out, and we have to achieve every goal by 2030, which leaves us only 11 years.

Why is it important to accelerate progress?

The United Nations information shows:

  • Over 265 million children are currently out of school and 22% of them are of primary school age. 
  • 16% of the global population does not have access to mobile broadband networks.
  • At the current time, however, manufacturing value added per capita is only US$100 in the least developed countries compared to over US$4,500 in Europe and Northern America.

These figures express the arduousness of the challenges of changing these situations. Although there has been a positive trend, the transition to the development path required to achieve the goal by 2030 has not yet reached the required speed, which requires us to work together to develop more favorable policies to accelerate the achievement of SDGs through more innovative solutions.

Transforming our world:
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development


Where can ICT make the most difference?

Sustainable development goals with high relevance to ICT

SDG 4: Quality Education
(72% correlation with ICT)

In the future, all development is inseparable from talents and culture. However, there are currently more than 265 million children out of school worldwide, which greatly hinders social and economic development. The high correlation between SDG 4 and ICT skills indicates that a country's overall education level is closely related to its ICT education and training level. Only when the need for the required skills is satisfied can we promote the fair development of the whole society.

SDG 3: Good Health & Well-Being (70% 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 (63% correlation with ICT)

16% of the global population does not have access to mobile broadband networks. Research has found that people and organizations' ability to access and use ICT services is more likely to drive economic development than ICT education and skills. Therefore, countries should focus on improving the access and use of ICTs, increase investment in industry, innovation and infrastructure, promote industrial development, and enable people to enjoy the social and economic dividends brought about by ICT development and promote social equity development.

SDG 5: Gender equality (57% correlation with ICT)

The United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda shows that the number of girls enrolled in schools has increased significantly compared to 2000, indicating that investing in ICT construction in this area can also bring huge benefits. The relevance of SDG 5 to ICT use and skills is 57%, which is higher than the relevance of ICT access, which may indicate that we can promote the progress of SDG 5 – gender equality – by increasing women's ICT education, training and ICT use opportunities.

Three critical pathways for ICT to drive sustainable development

Increase access to information and services

ICT infrastructure, the connectivity it provides, and availability of devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and computers play a major role in enabling access to information and services for individuals and organizations in both developed and developing nations, which can form a basis for progress on almost all SDGs in some way. Inequitable access to resources, information, education, and services of all kinds exacerbates disparities worldwide.

Increase connectivity between people and organizations

Increased access leads to better connectivity and communication between people, homes, intelligent devices, IoT nodes, and the companies and organizations people interface with at an instantaneous or near-instantaneous speed. This can increase productivity and innovation for a broad range of sectors and communities, and provide the real-time communications needed for rapid scaling of critical human-oriented services.

Increase productivity and resource efficiency

The access to information and communication ICT provides holds immense potential to raise the productivity and efficiency of many human activities. Digital technologies provide solutions for more efficient ways to collect and analyze large sets of data with the help of big data analytical tools, which has wide-ranging implications for SDG progress.

The impact of digital ——Four cases of digital and SDG progress

How digital technology activates and accelerates the sustainable development of Ghana, India, South Korea and Turkey.



Although Ghana ranks quite low on the Benchmark, there is much evidence that Ghana is well-positioned to accelerate stronger development on ICTs, and in the process, drive greater performance on the SDGs.

While the country has one of the highest rates of mobile phone penetration in the region, there remains significant room for progress in providing Internet services through home broadband connections. SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) is Ghana’s largest and most pressing area of opportunity for improvement. Other pressing areas of focus are SDGs 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), 4 (Quality Education) and 5 (Gender Equality), for which Ghana scores significantly below average and have high correlations with ICT.



Sustainable development in India strongly parallels its performance in ICT. India scores below average on each of the three ICT sub-indices of Access, Use and Skills. India’s low scores on all three Use indicators – “percentage of individuals using the Internet,” “fixed broadband subscriptions” and “active mobile-broadband subscriptions” – are the primary reasons for this yet-to-be improved performance. India has the greatest opportunity for improvement by focusing on Use – greater uptake and use of ICT systems can help drive progress in other areas of sustainable development.India can see the greatest gains by focusing on SDGs 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), 4 (Quality Education) and 5 (Gender Equality).

South Korea

South Korea

South Korea has ranked the highest of all countries in the ICT SDG Benchmark since it was first included in the assessment in 2018, retaining this rank for the second year in a row. Its high rank is primarily driven by its ICT performance. South Korea excels in many aspects of Benchmark, but notably ranks lower in SDGs compared to ICT. Within the SDGs, South Korea has the greatest opportunity for improvement in SDGs 5 (Gender Equality) and SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy). With its leading position in ICT, South Korea can further its contribution in these areas.


Turkey ranks close to the middle of the countries included in the Contender category. Turkey has the greatest opportunity to focus on improving issues related to Access and Use, Within the Access indicators, Turkey exceeds the average in terms of “percentage of households with Internet access” but falls behind on each of the other indicators. Turkey also lags behind average on each of the Use indicators. By focusing policies on these areas of ICT Turkey can improve its strength in ICT and also help drive progress on other areas of sustainable development. While Turkey performs at a mid-level compared to other countries in the Benchmark, it has opportunities to advance on SDG 5 (Gender Equality) and 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) as these are Turkey’s most pressing areas for improvement.

2019 ICT Sustainable Development Goals Benchmark

A report by Huawei and SustainAbility

Published: June 10, 2019

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.

Connect with us: sustainability@huawei.com

2018 ICT SDG Benchmark:
Download 2018 ICT Sustainable Development Goals Benchmark

2017 ICT SDG Benchmark:
Download 2017 ICT Sustainable Development Goals Benchmark