Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands
Population 622,469 (July 2015 est.)
Independence 1978, United Kingdom
Languages English (official), Melanesian
Form of government Parliamentary democracy
GDP (2014) $1.155 billion; per capita (2014): $1.900

Solomon Islands is composed of 90 inhabited islands and more than 900 uninhabited islands and atolls grouped into nine provinces. Located east of fellow g7+ member Papua New Guinea in the south Pacific, Solomon Islands gained independence from Britain in 1978.

Conflict broke out in 1998 as a result of rivalry between the Isatabus ethnic group on Guadalcanal, the largest island, and migrants from the neighboring island of Malaita. Violent lawlessness and unrest continued until an Australia-led peacekeeping force arrived in 2003 and arrested rebel leaders, collected illegal weapons, and restored order. The force withdrew in 2013, leaving a small security mission behind to train and support local police.

Under the framework of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands, the Government of Solomon Islands has been working to promote reconciliation and economic development as a foundation for long-term stability, security and prosperity.

Government Title Name
Governor-General H.E. Frank KABUI
Prime Minister H.E. Manasseh SOGAVARE
Minister of Finance and Treasury H.E. Rick HOU
g7+ Focal Point Mr. Peter MAE, Undersecretary for Policy Planning

New Deal Implementation

Solomon Islands joined the g7+ in 2010 and has endorsed the New Deal.

Though a sovereign state, Solomon Islands is affiliated with the British Commonwealth. Its head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who is represented in country by a Governor-General. The Governor-General is appointed by Queen Elizabeth with the advice of Solomon Islands’ National Parliament. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is elected by parliamentary majority. The cabinet is composed of 20 ministers appointed by the Governor-General in consultation with the Prime Minister.

The legislature is the unicameral National Parliament. Its 50 members are elected for four-year terms. The last elections were held in 2014; the next elections are scheduled for 2018. Each of the nine provinces is governed by an elected Premier and a provincial assembly.

Development in Solomon Islands has progressed slowly since conflict ended in the early 2000s; it has the lowest per capita income in the Pacific region. Its disparate geography, history of ethnic conflict, and vulnerability to natural disasters are all challenges to public revenue generation and delivery of social services. Much of the population relies on subsistence agriculture and fishing for livelihoods; fewer than one out of every four citizens is involved in paid employment. Private sector development is limited and inequality is high. 80% of the population of Solomon Islands live in rural areas, and 40 percent of the population is under 14 years of age.

The 2011-2020 National Development Strategy is based on a vision for a modern, united and vibrant Solomon Islands. The strategy is focused on eight primary objectives: (1) Alleviate poverty; (2) Support the vulnerable; (3) Ensure access to quality healthcare; (4) Ensure access to quality education and support human capital development; (5) Improve livelihoods; (6) Develop physical infrastructure and utilities; (7) Mitigate risks of climate change and natural disasters; and (8) Improve national, provincial, and local governance.

The economy of Solomon Islands is reliant on revenue from natural resources, including timber, palm oil, cocoa, and gold. Logging is the primary source of government revenue, accounting for 50% of export earnings in 2014. Subsistence agriculture is the primary economic activity among the people of Solomon Islands. Lack of infrastructure, weak property rights and land policy, and the wide geographic distribution of the population are challenges to economic diversification and foreign investment. Most manufactured goods and petroleum are imported.

Opportunities for foreign investment in extractive sectors are extensive, with potential in the lead, zinc, nickel, and gold industries. The macroeconomic climate is strong but volatile. The Government of Solomon Islands has committed to improving the business environment, with the goals of reducing costs of doing business and developing a predictable regulatory framework that protects public and consumer interests and reduces transaction costs.