Minister for Development Planning and Aid Coordination, Hon Philip, left, and the EU Ambassador to Solomon Islands HE Tezapsidis sign the SBD$90-Million financing agreement.

By Chris Leua

The Solomon Islands Government and European Union have signed a SBD$ 90-Million Financing Agreement for rural development in Solomon Islands.

The Agreement was signed by the Minister for Development Planning and Aid Coordination, Hon Danny Philip and the EU Ambassador to Solomon Islands, His Excellency Leonidas Tezapsidis in Honiara today, during the SIG-EU 6th Political Dialogue.

The funding will increase to SBD$ 270-Million the multi-donor Rural Development Phase II (RDP II) program that will support agri-business and community development activities in all 172 wards in the country’s nine provinces.

When making his remarks on the occasion of the signing, Hon Danny Philip said the Democratic Coalition for Change Government (DCCG) is committed to improving rural livelihoods and the signing of the Financing Agreement comes at the right time.

“I am pleased to say that this funding assistance will go a long way in improving the lives of our people by helping them to be self-reliant and become prosperous,” he said.

EU Ambassador HE Leonidas Tezapsidis, in turn, said RDP II is about helping people in rural Solomon Islands to lead a more prosperous and resilient lives.

“I am pleased that the project has developed mechanisms for channelling funds where they are needed to support activities identified by the rural communities themselves.”

“RDP II represents an innovative partnership between the SIG and development partners like the EU, World Bank, DFAT and IFAD as well as the private sector through business partnerships.”

“Smallholder farmers will be helped to link with markets, resulting in higher employment and income in rural areas,” he said.

The RDP II funding, which started in 2015, is a collaborative effort between the Solomon Islands Government and the European Union (EU), Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Bank’s International Development Assistance (IDA).

The program is managed by the World Bank and coordinated by the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination through Government Ministries and Provincial Governments.

Together, all partners have committed the equivalent of SBD$ 330- Million in loans and grants to the RDP II.