HONIARA, SOLOMON ISLANDS (22 August 2017) — Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao today met with Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Finance Minister Snyder Rini in Honiara. Marking his first official visit as ADB President to Solomon Islands, Mr. Nakao discussed ways ADB can further enhance its support to help the country meet its development goals.
Mr. Nakao’s program includes a visit to East Guadalcanal to view the achievements of ADB-supported road and bridge projects, meetings with Central Bank Governor Denton Rarawa, meetings with development partners, discussions with non-government organizations and members of the business community, and an official address to Cabinet Ministers at the Prime Minister’s office, where he will discuss potential opportunities for ADB assistance and policy priorities for Solomon Islands. He is also expected to participate in a ground-breaking ceremony to kickstart the upgrading of the University of the South Pacific’s Honiara Campus, which is supported by a $15.4 million concessional loan from ADB.
The President commended Solomon Islands for progress in transport, renewable energy, and public sector management. “We must continue to work together to support broad-based economic growth, rural development, and improved access to basic services,” said Mr. Nakao. “There is no room for complacency as challenges remain.”
The Asian Development Outlook 2017, ADB’s flagship annual economic publication, says economic growth in the Solomon Islands accelerated modestly in 2016 to 3.2%, but will moderate to 3% in 2017 and 2.8% in 2018 as the effects of expansionary fiscal policy dissipate. Tourism offers an untapped source of future growth and implementing the national tourism development strategy will help unlock this potential.
ADB’s support in Solomon Islands is aligned with the government’s National Development Strategy 2016-2035. It is also guided by ADB’s Pacific Approach 2016-2020, under which ADB is scaling up its financing in Solomon Islands and other Pacific countries, reforming its procurement and other business processes to suit the unique development context in the Pacific, and strengthening its country presence. With the opening of its Extended Mission in Solomon Islands in February 2017, ADB is better placed to support the government in project implementation, coordinate with partners, and foster knowledge sharing.
Solomon Islands has been an ADB member since 1973. Since joining, ADB has approved 19 concessional loan projects totaling $123.42 million, 15 grant projects totaling $160.52 million, and 75 technical assistance projects totaling $31.2 million to the country.
ADB supports the country’s medium-term comprehensive economic reforms. Since 2010, ADB provided four budget support operations which have focused on fiscal discipline and improving economic productivity through state-owned enterprise reforms, fostering an enabling environment for the private sector, and improved access to finance and strengthening financial inclusion.
Following the 2014 floods, ADB approved $12.8 million for the Transport Flood Recovery Project which is constructing and climate-proofing bridges and roads in priority locations.
The Sustainable Transport Infrastructure Improvement Program approved in 2016 is a $78.8 million program, jointly financed by ADB and the Government of Australia, to improve the existing transport system in Solomon Islands by providing better access to markets, schools, and clinics and boosting services for rural communities. Through the government’s National Transport Plan, ADB is working with government and development partners to strengthen government agencies to deliver priority transport infrastructure.
ADB plans to join the Government of Australia and the World Bank Group in supporting the Tina River Hydropower Project, which will support the development of renewable energy for Honiara, and when commissioned will provide 68% of the city’s power.
Climate change is a significant risk to Solomon Islands and the Pacific. ADB is strengthening its climate actions by scaling up annual climate financing to $6 billion by 2020. ADB is investing $1.5 million to assist Fiji’s Presidency of the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and will join the Government of Fiji’s COP 23 Advisory Panel in November 2017. These events will highlight the unique climate change challenges in the Pacific.
The proposed ADB-assisted Pacific Disaster Resilience Program will provide participating countries including Solomon Islands with quick-releasing finance to support early recovery and reconstruction activities following natural disasters.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—including 14 Pacific developing member countries. In 2019, Fiji will be the first ADB Pacific Developing Member Country to host an ADB annual meeting. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.