21 October, 2016, 12:00 am
The World Bank (WB) has offered to give more financial and advisory support to Solomon Islands within the next three years.
Word Bank vice-president, East Asia and Pacific Region, Victoria Kwakwa, made the offer when she met Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare at his office in Honiara
Ms Kwakwa heads a delegation who are in the country to look at the on-going projects supported by WB including the Rapid Employment Project, Tina Hydro Project and the Solomon Islands Rural Development Progamme II (RDP II).
Ms Kwakwa expressed her delight at meeting Mr Sogavare to enter into discussions with the Solomon Islands Government on how best it can work with the international financial institution.
“You can count on us (WB) as development partners with considerable experience and expertise to work together to really make a difference for the people of Solomon Islands,” she said.
Ms Kwakwa acknowledged the many challenges that the Government was facing in getting services right down to the widely dispersed rural communities in Solomon Islands.
However, she told the PM she was confident that the approach the Government was embarking on to address some of the underlying hurdles to economic development were “steps in the right direction” for which the WB is able to provide advice and technical assistance on.
Ms Kwakwa assured Mr Sogavare of the WB’s support of the ongoing reforms the Government was implementing, especially on social and economic reform initiatives.
In response, Mr Sogavare told Ms Kwakwa and her delegation that Solomon Islands was faced with socio-economic and political challenges such as any other small developing nation, however, “our strength lies in our natural resources”.
Mr Sogavare said the Democratic Coalition for Change Government was excited about the Tina Hydro Project and would be working with the WB, Korean Exim Bank and Global Environmental Fund (GEF) to ensure the project got off ground.
In terms of foreign investment, Mr Sogavare said it had always been the challenge of the Solomon Islands Government to attract genuine high quality investments into the country.
He said the Democratic Coalition for Change Government’s move to establish the Special Economic Zones in specific areas in Solomon Islands was an attempt at addressing this gap, while making sure Solomon Islanders retained maximum benefit for the development of their resources.