ADB and Solomon Islands Chart Path to Improved Transport, Connectivity, Energy

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Solomon Islands have agreed to a new five-year strategy to reduce poverty and promote inclusive growth through improvements in transport, information and communications technology (ICT), renewable energy, and public sector management.

ADB's Board of Directors today endorsed the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), which covers 2012 to 2016 and envisages $38 million in Asian Development Fund grants and concessional loans and $1 million per annum in technical assistance.

“Solomon Islands has made significant progress since emerging from conflict and the global financial crisis, but it continues to face major development challenges," said Robert Wihtol, Director General of the ADB’s Pacific Department. “The new CPS is ADB's first five-year partnership strategy with Solomon Islands and is a focused program closely aligned with the National Development Strategy 2011-2020, which seeks to promote private sector-led inclusive economic growth.”

ADB will continue to support the country’s National Transport Plan, which promotes increased government ownership and greater use of national systems. Strengthening the transport sector will reduce economic isolation by improving access for people in rural and remote areas. It will help diversify economic activity, generate productive employment and facilitate provision of social services.

ADB is working with the government to provide opportunities for rural communities to earn cash incomes through participation in labor-based road maintenance. Community groups and unemployed youth are using simple tools and equipment rather than large machines to carry out basic road maintenance.

ADB is also supporting the private sector by helping public enterprises perform better, strengthening the enabling environment for business, and expanding access to financial services for farmers and business owners. ADB has already helped the government to operationalize the secured transactions and company registries, and to strengthen corporate governance of state-owned enterprises.

Development of an internet backbone and improved ICT policies are other priority areas. Lowering the cost of broadband internet will enable economic diversification in the outer islands. Lowering energy costs and providing affordable power to outer islands will also make growth more inclusive.

Working through a joint government-development partner coordination mechanism, ADB will support medium-term comprehensive economic reforms. These will focus on: fiscal iscipline and improve economic productivity through state-owned enterprise reforms, business law reforms, and improved access to finance.