Canberra is working on a new SBD$50-million programme that will focus on boosting economic growth in Solomon Islands, the Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific Islands announced today.
The Hon Concetta Ferriavante-Wells heralded the multi-million dollar programme funding in her keynote address at the 8th Australia-Solomon Islands Business Forum in Brisbane, Australia.
“The programme will aim to catalyse private sector investment and increase opportunities for inclusive growth.
“It will aim to reduce costs to business by addressing systematic constraints to growth such as infrastructure.
“It will address barriers to women’s economic participation
“It will be clear about identifying the industries with the highest growth potential such as tourism and agriculture and working strategically to address them,” she said when announcing the programme.
However, she pointed out that this pursued growth must be an ‘inclusive growth’ and for this reason, the Australian Government is committed to ensuring the empowerment of women and girls is a key priority for Australia’s foreign trade and aid agenda in Solomon Islands and across the Indo-Pacific.
“We are investing in initiatives to enhance women’s leadership to support women in business and to end violence against women and girls.
“The evidence is clear, investing in women is a good thing to do both morally and economically.
“For Australia, like many Pacific Islands, domestic violence is a major issue and there is so much to be done to address it,” Hon Ferriavante-Wells said.
The Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific Islands is aware that women in Solomon Islands are already making their mark in the private sector and making substantial contributions to the economy and their communities.
“There is a generation of talented women rising through the ranks of major companies in Solomon Islands like GPPOL (Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Limited), Soltuna, BSP (Bank South Pacific), Our Telekom and ANZ Bank.”
And Hon Ferriavante-Wells said she is pleased that the Australian High Commission in Honiara has sponsored three ‘up-and-coming’ women executives from ANZ, GPPOL and the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce to attend the forum and expressed hope to see many more business women attend the annual forum in the future