How Development Corridors Interact with the Sustainable Development Goals in East Africa

Investment in infrastructure and industry has reached record levels across the global South, leading to claims that the world is at the dawn of a fourth industrial revolution. This claim is reflected in the central position that infrastructure and industry occupy in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sustainable Development Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure has been described as fundamental to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With this in mind, it is important to investigate how Goal 9 interacts with other SDGs. Informed by SDG interactions literature, this article considers emerging trade-offs between Goal 9 and other SDGs in East Africa–where infrastructure and industry are dominating development planning and financing. Based on in-depth, qualitative research along two new ‘development corridors’ in East Africa, we highlight the complexities and nuances of SDG interactions and offer insights into why certain SDGs are often prioritised over others.