Focuses on strengthening economic resilience and improving service delivery
WASHINGTON, June 13, 2013 – Today, the World Bank Group Board of Executive Directors endorsed a new Solomon Islands – World Bank Group Country Partnership Strategy, which focuses on strengthening economic resilience and improving service delivery across the country.
The Strategy includes a specific focus on enhancing economic opportunities for women and supporting victims of gender-based and domestic violence.
“The World Bank Group will build on positive developments in a number of sectors, including energy, telecommunications, and rural development, to support Solomon Islanders as they secure peace and pursue enhanced prosperity,” said Franz Drees-Gross, World Bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste, and the Pacific Islands.
The Strategy builds on results achieved over the last four years of partnership:
- Reforms in the telecommunications sector increased the number of people having access to mobile communications from 50,000 to 300, 000 – approximately 55 percent of the population.
- The Rapid Employment Project has provided 324,000 days of work for the urban unemployed. Women make up 57 percent of the beneficiaries, and youth 51 percent.
- The Rural Development Program has supported over 200 community infrastructure projects in rural areas – including classrooms, health clinics, and water supply systems – reaching over 300,000 people, which is more than half the population.
- The Solomon Islands Electricity Authority has significantly improved the quality of services, and moved from a SBD 70 million loss in 2010 to a SBD 53 million profit in 2012.
- In 2012, the Solomon Islands become a candidate country for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), supported by technical assistance provided by the Bank. EITI promotes improved governance in countries rich in natural resources by publishing and verifying government revenues and company payments from oil, gas, and mining activities.
World Bank Vice President for the East Asia and Pacific region, Axel van Trotsenburg, commented that the World Bank Group is bringing global knowledge and expertise to some unique challenges faced by Solomon Islands and other Pacific Island countries.
“Solomon Island is grappling with geographic isolation from major economic hubs, susceptibility to climate change and natural hazards, and a lack of vital infrastructure for service delivery,” said Axel van Trotsenburg. “This new strategy aims to help the country tackle these challenges, building on the strong results that have been accomplished so far, and to help ensure that all Solomon Islanders benefit with good jobs and better services.”
The new Strategy has been prepared jointly with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is scaling up its presence and program in Solomon Islands.
“IFC is committed to supporting the local private sector and helping the Solomon Islands to develop its natural resources sustainably,” said Karin Finkelston, IFC Vice President for Asia Pacific. “Following our first investment to support the re-opening of the Gold Ridge mine, we’re now scaling up our local operations to focus on other projects which can support economic development and create jobs.”
Since 2008, the World Bank Group has committed approximately US$20 million from its fund for the poorest countries, the International Development Association (IDA). In addition, the Bank manages US$35 million in trust fund resources on behalf of other donors to support development activities.