Solomon Islands

New Zealand Aid Programme allocated funding

New Zealand Aid Programme transparency

Snapshot

  • The population is approximately 535,000
  • The country is made up of 992 islands spread over 28,500 square kilometres
  • The population growth rate of 2.5 percent is one of the highest in the world
  • 40 percent of the population is under 15 years of age
  • 85 percent of the population live in rural areas.

Development challenges

  • Subsistence farming and fishing support 75 percent of the population
  • Rapid population growth and limited access to transport are significant challenges to economic development and the provision of health and education services
  • School enrolment rates are low: primary education 91 percent, junior secondary 30 percent, and senior secondary 20 percent
  • Unemployment and under-employment of young people is significant
  • Recovering from 1998–2003 civil strife and the breakdown of public services and the destruction of public infrastructure
  • Unsustainable management of natural resources, particularly forests. Revenue from logging, which makes up 60 percent of government revenues, has dropped significantly since 2009.

New Zealand Aid Programme activities

The Solomon Islands Programme is guided by a strategy that aims to contribute to a prosperous and stable Solomon Islands by fostering broad-based economic and social development, improving livelihoods, investing in people through education and skills development, and building peace and stability. New Zealand has signed a Joint Commitment for Development with the Solomon Islands [PDF 692KD].

Improving livelihoods and broad-based economic growth

Transport

Improving access to markets and social services through reliable, affordable transport is central to promoting broad-based economic growth. The New Zealand Aid Programme is currently working with other donors and the Solomon Islands Government to fix roads and bridges that help rural people get to markets, schools, and clinics. The New Zealand Aid Programme promotes a more coordinated sector-based approach to transport that goes beyond roading to meet the needs of rural communities and stimulate economic activity.

Fisheries

The fisheries sector offers real potential to generate domestic revenue, expand formal employment, and improve food security and rural livelihoods. The New Zealand Aid Programme has substantially expanded previous support to the fisheries sector by moving to a more sector-based approach. This approach will strengthen the linkages between the government, private sector, and communities leading to improved management and benefits from fisheries and marine resources. It focuses on improving the effectiveness of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to ensure that the people of the Solomon Islands receive maximum benefits from sustainably managed fisheries.

Revenue collection

In conjunction with New Zealand Inland Revenue and the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), the New Zealand Aid Programme is scaling up its support to the Ministry of Finance and Treasury to improve revenue collection and strengthen public sector financial management so that the Government is able to finance essential services and put in place a business-friendly tax system.

Investing in people through education and skills development

Formal education

Education, especially of girls and women, is recognised as one of the most successful means of enabling countries to achieve sustainable development. The New Zealand Aid Programme supports the Ministry of Education to achieve its goal of providing a quality basic education for all children and eliminating gender disparity at all levels of education.

As a lead donor in the education sector, the New Zealand Aid Programme has been working with other donors and the Ministry of Education on a comprehensive Education Sector Programme since 2003. This programme has:

  • Strengthened the Ministry of Education’s management of the formal education system.
  • Developed a programme to upgrade school infrastructure and a grants policy to increase access to education and the quality of education. Support has also been provided for fee free education to improve access.
  • Revised curricula and distributed text books and teaching aids to primary schools.
  • Made progress towards ensuring that trained teachers are available in every classroom. The New Zealand Aid Programme focuses on improvements to schools, while continuing to build the capacity of the Ministry of Education to sustain these results in the long term and also continues to provide scholarships for tertiary study and professional development to address the human resource shortages in the public and private sectors.

Non-formal education /skills development

A strong education system relevant to employment opportunities is central to achieving sustainable economic growth. Under the Solomon Islands Strategy, the New Zealand Aid Programme and its partners has expanded support to technical and vocational education and non-formal education. The focus is on improved access to quality skills-based training that is relevant to improving livelihoods and quality of life.

Building peace and stability

The Government and people of Solomon Islands continue to request external assistance to maintain peace and stability. The New Zealand Aid Programme works with the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) to provide the stability required or all development efforts, and continue to support key reform and improved governance initiatives which contribute to sustainable economic development. This includes:

  • Deployments of NZ Police to the RAMSI policing force and secondments of senior NZ Police officers to the Royal Solomon Islands Police for capacity development
  • Support to  the Honiara City Council to improve governance, operations, and basic services such as rubbish collection and road maintenance.