In 2021, 46% of people globally still don’t have access to a computer or the internet in order to access remote education or health services. This figure simply doesn’t align with the global agenda of remote learning and working, and puts the third world at yet another disadvantage. I’ve given you one example, but I could probably give you hundreds, if not thousands, about how the imbalance of global infrastructure has been exacerbated during the Covid-19 pandemic.
When industry, innovation, and infrastructure are working in harmony, with a nice dose of sustainability, there is an economic boom. That’s just how it works. That’s the secret recipe. When these things are in sync, employment and income soar, new technologies become available, and the world takes notice. Look at the last 20 years of Dubai as a good example. Silicon Valley is another.
Covid-19 was a monumental spanner in the global works, with projects around the planet slowing down or stopping. In the first world, this wasn’t such a big problem as we had the means to adapt quickly. In the developing world, it was a disaster. In the first world, infrastructure was being improved and optimised. In the third world, it was being introduced, perhaps for the first time. Now, many people are going without and suffering the consequences. Remember SDG 6: Water and Sanitation? A lot of cleaning and handwashing facilities that were being built or were due to be built were abandoned or put back on the waiting list.
Manufacturing means that things are being made, which means people are employed at one end, and consumers are spending at the other end. This cycle must continue indefinitely for economists to cheer. The pandemic has given little to cheer about in this regard though, with global supply chains, manufacturing, and raw material collection in the developing world all suffering.
When businesses are making things, they are also looking at better ways to make things, tweaking industrial processes, ingredients, logistics, packaging, suppliers, and more, with percentages of their budgets going to R&D. These innovations are what help drive humanity forward, as our science and technology become more advanced. Unfortunately, the pandemic has stalled our progress and shown that the global infrastructure for manufacturing is not as resilient as we thought.
In 2018, 96% of the world’s population lived within reach of a mobile-cellular signal, and 90%of people could access the Internet through a third-generation (3G) or higher-quality network.
16% of the global population does not have access to mobile broadband networks.
The global share of manufacturing value-added in GDP increased from 15.2% in 2005 to 16.3% in 2017, driven by the fast growth of manufacturing in Asia.
Least developed countries have immense potential for industrialization in food and beverages (agro-industry), and textiles and garments, with good prospects for sustained employment generation and higher productivity.