Charts of the Week: The Sustainable Development Goals

SDG progress projections by country

In this week’s Charts of the Week: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—the 17 measurable targets agreed to by all United Nations member states in 2015, to be achieved by 2030. Below are a few charts related to progress and gaps on meeting the SDGs.


SDG progress projections by country

In the new Foresight Africa 2020 report from the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings, Belay Begashaw—director general of the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa—examines Africa’s progress toward meeting the SDGs. He says that “Nowhere is the need to achieve these targets larger than in Africa” and “[w]hile progress in some areas and countries is encouraging, overall, the region will need to redouble its efforts if it is to achieve the SDGs by 2030.”

Learn more about Africa’s promising decade in Foresight Africa: Top priorities for the continent 2020-2030.

SDG financing gaps in Africa

Financing the SDGs in sub-Saharan Africa

Countries need resources to finance their progress in meeting the SDGs. Brahima Sangafowa Coulibaly—senior fellow and director of the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings—says that “there is a substantial financing gap totaling $256 billion per year” in sub-Saharan Africa. As official development assistance diminishes as a major source of financing, Coulibaly says that “[a]gainst this backdrop, it is even more imperative that policymakers step up efforts to mobilize domestic resources.” The chart (above) demonstrates some of the ways African countries can “mobilize” to fill most of the gap.


Estimated total SDG public spending, 2015 and 2030, by sector

Homi Kharas and John McArthur—interim vice president and senior fellow, respectively, in Global Economy and Development at Brookings—calculated total estimated public spending worldwide on the SDGs, estimating that the total amount in 2030 would be about $32.3 trillion per year. Cutting by sector (chart above) shows changing spending levels from 2015 to 2030 favoring social assistance, health and education; but leaving sectors like justice, agriculture, and conservation with much smaller, or negligible, increases. The “SDG financing problem,” Kharas and McArthur argue, “is not one of finding trillions of dollars of additional resources. It is the problem of getting the right composition and volume of resources for the right problems at the right times.”

Tylena Patton-Bullock, intern in the Office of Communications, contributed to this post.