The transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has shifted the policy debate from growth to ‘quality of growth’ (QG). We explore a new dataset on QG by the IMF and classify 93 developing countries for the period 1990–2011 in terms of Hopefuls, Contenders and Best Performers. The aims are as follows: (i) to depict the contradiction between high-growth and poor social welfare and (ii) to assess the influence of education and health spending on the QG. The findings have implications on education and health policy, and support SDGs 3 and 4.
Training and capacity building are long established critical components of global water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH) policies, strategies, and programs. Expanding capacity building support for WaSH in developing countries is one of the targets of the SDG 6. There are many training evaluation methods and tools available. However, training evaluations in WaSH have been infrequent, have often not utilized these methods and tools, and have lacked rigor. The authors of this paper have developed a conceptual framework which can be used as a tool both for planning and evaluating training programs in WaSH.
MSF Doctors conduct a Phase III rotavirus vaccine trial at Epicentre’s Niger Research Center at the Maradi Hospital. (Photo © KRISHAN Cheyenne/MSF)
"The Elsevier Foundation is partnering with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and their training and research partner, Epicentre, to support the Niger Research Center. By building the Center's capacity and supporting African-driven research this project directly supports SDG 3, with a focus on target 3B. At the heart of this project is the development of a new vaccine to fight rotavirus."
A farmer in Uganda
Lucy Ajok, a 34 year old Ugandan farmer, gives Farmers Weekly an insight into her rural life. Lucy is a single mother of five children and lives on a three-acre farm practising mixed farming. Farming families dependent on family labour, like Lucy's, are typically the poorest in Uganda, and often have the additional challenge of HIV. This interview shares some of the challenges faced in achieving SDG 1 and SDG 2.
Access to clean and stable energy is a major challenge for many developing African countries. This research aims to investigate ways in which financing renewable energy projects (REPs) can help to address this problem and therefore SDG7. The authors propose the promotion of the two-hand renewable energy service company (ESCO) model as an efficient financial vehicle for increasing sustainable economic development through the production of reliable and stable electricity in semi-urban and rural communities.
Effective implementation of rules on reduced emission from avoided deforestation and forest degradation (REDD +) depends on the compatibility between these rules and existing sectoral policies associated with forests. These authors examine the coherence between REDD + polices and Kenyan policies. They find that coherence is impaired by lack of cross-sectorial consultations on REDD + and that a lack of coherence at the national level creates conflicts at the local level. Cross-sectorial consultative framework is therefore a prerequisite for policy coherence. This paper addresses SDGs 13, 15 and 16.
Food security is enshrined in SDG2 and is also a core component of the human development and capability paradigm, since food access and entitlements are critical for reinforcing essential human capabilities. This paper argues that agriculture is central to improving food security and reducing poverty in Africa, requiring rapid increases in land productivity and increases in agricultural yields. A science-based approach that integrates gender and sustainability is critical to design and implement policies that improve the availability of farm inputs and farm technology.
Nurses receive instruction in mobile nursing education in Kenya through Amref’s Jibu pilot. (Credit: Amref)
In order to achieve SDG target 3C, investments in the healthcare workforce is essential. New and innovative methods need to be deployed to train and develop the skills of healthcare workers. In Kenya, AMREF has launched a programme that enables nurses to learn on their mobile phones through a mobile nursing education app. Supported by a three-year grant from the Elsevier Foundation, Jibu (the name of the m-learning programme), offers a low-cost yet effective way for nurses to access up to date content.
Food insufficiency is an important, modifiable risk factor for depression. The authors investigate this association using longitudinal data from South Africa. Food insufficiency has a strong association with depressive symptoms. This paper addresses Goal 2 and Goal 3

Applied Energy, Volume 161, 1 January 2016, Pages 583-590

The authors of this paper evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of solar PV in Kenya. They use a system-level optimization model for Kenya to evaluate the potential to use grid-connected solar PV in combination with existing reservoir hydropower to displace diesel generation. This system-scale methodology can be used to estimate the potential for intermittent renewable generation in other African countries with large reservoir hydro capacities or where there is a significant opportunity to displace costly diesel generation. This paper addresses SDG 7: affordable and clean energy for all.