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 Hon Manasseh Sogavare at his office today.
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 with Prime Minister 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 is facing in getting services right down to the widely dispersed rural communities in Solomon Islands.
However, she told the Prime Minister that she is confident that the approach the Government is embarking on to address some of the underlying hurdles to economic development are ‘steps in the right direction’ for which the WB is able to provide advice and technical assistance on.
Ms Kwakwa assured the Prime Minister of the WB’s support of the ongoing reforms that the Government is implementing, especially on social and economic reform initiatives.
In response, Prime Minister Sogavare told Ms Kwakwa and her delegation that Solomon Islands is faced with socio-economic and political challenges like any other small developing nation, however, ‘our strength lies in our natural resources.’
The Prime Minister said the Democratic Coalition for Change Government is excited about the Tina Hydro Project and would be working with the WB, Korean Exim Bank and Global Environmental Fund (GEF) to ensure that the project gets off ground.
In terms of foreign investment, Prime Minister Sogavare said it has 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 is an attempt at addressing this gap, while making sure Solomon Islanders retain maximum benefit for the development of their resources.
Ms Kwakwa and her delegation also met with the Minister of Finance and Treasury Hon Snyder Rini and the Minister of Development Planning and Aid Coordination, Hon Danny Philip.