Projecting progress: the SDGs in sub-Saharan Africa

Research reports and studies
April 2016
Susan Nicolai, Christopher Hoy, Tanvi Bhatkal and Thomas Aedy

This paper shows how sub-Saharan Africa is likely to progress across the SDG agenda by 2030, if current trends continue. Although we can expect gains for many of the goals and targets, low starting points and inequality both within and between countries will make sub-Saharan Africa’s achievement of the global goals particularly difficult.

While goals and targets relating to economic growth and the strengthening of domestic-resource mobilisation are set to make considerable progress, the majority of goals – including ending extreme poverty, reducing maternal mortality, and access to energy – must increase the speed of progress by several multiples of current rates in order to reach SDG targets.

One group of five goals and targets is especially worrying: they are heading in the wrong direction across sub-Saharan Africa. These include reducing slum populations, reducing waste, combating climate change, marine conservation and reducing violent deaths.

That said, progress has been seen, and is possible, across the continent. A number of case studies in selected countries in the region show how development progress can be achieved; this includes progress in growth and employment in Ethiopia, poverty reduction in South Africa and improved food security in Ghana, amongst others.

This analysis for sub-Saharan Africa is one of a series of regional scorecards, which also includes papers offering a closer look at Asia and Latin America. The analysis is modelled on a global scorecard for the SDGs, presented in the ODI report Projecting Progress: Reaching the SDGs by 2030.

Corrections and clarifications

The section on target 13.2 (page 24) was updated on 28/04/16 to provide further context on the chosen target.