New World Bank Strategy for Solomon Islands Focuses on Reducing Barriers to Growth

May 10, 2010

Washington DC – 10 May, 2010 – The World Bank has approved a country strategy for Solomon Islands which aims to support the Pacific Island nation to get onto a stable and sustainable growth path for the long term.

 The strategy represents an important step forward for World Bank Group engagement with Solomon Islands, having the distinction of being the first individual strategy document to be presented to the Bank’s Board for any Pacific Island state.

 While Solomon Islands, one of the Pacific region’s poorest countries, has emerged from a period of internal conflict (1998 – 2003), it has also been affected by successive global food, fuel and financial crises. In 2009, with the fall in Solomon Island log exports and a major drop in international commodity prices, growth fell to just 1 percent.

 The 18-month “interim strategy note” was prepared jointly with the World Bank’s private sector arm – the International Finance Corporation – and revolves around three goals:

  •  addressing surmountable barriers to growth;
  • enhancing the benefits of global and regional engagement; and
  • supporting improvements in public administration and management.

 To support each goal, the strategy outlines a number of key policy actions and projects that it will support, including: telecommunications development, investment in more reliable and sustainable power systems, expanding access to finance, community-driven development and revitalized agriculture extensions services, mining sector oversight, improvements in public financial management, urban youth employment, and simplification of business regulation.

 The World Bank Group complements its financial support with analytical and advisory work on critical policy questions, drawing on knowledge and experience as a global institution.

 Solomon Islands has been a member of the World Bank Group since the country’s independence in 1978. A joint World Bank Group and Asian Development Bank office opened in the capital, Honiara, in 2008 – enabling far greater engagement with the Government and other stakeholders in the country’s development.

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