Navigate Up
Sign In

Solomon Islands

 
 

heading foldHow we are helping

2013/14 Estimated Outcome

$166.7 million

2014/15 Budget Estimate

$168.1 million

 
Seventh-day Adventist markets

Solomon Islands, Honiara. Seventh-day Adventist markets (credit: DFAT).

Australia is Solomon Islands’ major economic, development assistance and security partner—we provide about three-quarters of Solomon Islands’ aid. Since 2003, Australia has, through the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) and our bilateral programme, restored law and order, rebuilt national institutions and stabilised the economy. However, Solomon Islands still lags behind other Pacific countries on most development indicators. The formal economy is narrowly based, reliant on logging, mining revenue, fisheries and cash crops.

In 2014-15, Australia’s aid will target peace, stability and effective governance by:

  • channelling Australia’s support for policing through RAMSI to ensure the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) can maintain law and order; strengthening justice agencies and the courts, including to increase the number of cases finalised in the magistrates’ courts; and increasing the number of court sittings in provincial locations
  • providing funding of $8 million over four years to support the conduct of a free and fair general election in 2014 through advisory support to the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission and support to the UNDP elections programme.

A banner is displayed during a peace rally in Honiara, Solomon Islands
A banner is displayed during a peace rally in Honiara, Solomon Islands (credit: Australian Federal Police).

Australia’s aid will also target private sector development and improved infrastructure through:

  • promoting macroeconomic stability through advisory support to the Ministry of Finance and Treasury and improving the government’s ability to manage the economy
  • working with business to develop a national growth agenda and more effective regulatory and tax regimes
  • assisting the government improve transport infrastructure and the delivery and cost of utilities, including maintaining 500 kilometres of roads, building five new wharves/landing ramps in 2014-15 and funding the Solomon Islands Government to contract at least 75 local businesses for transport works.

Building a road between Auki and Malu'u, Solomon Islands
Building a road between Auki and Malu'u, Solomon Islands (credit: DFAT).

Australia will also invest in better quality health and education to build a productive workforce by:

  • supporting primary health care and water and sanitation. We are aiming to have 75 per cent of essential medical supplies in rural clinics (up from 65 per cent in 2013), and 100 per cent of urban water samples pass World Health Organization bacteria standards—up from 90 per cent in 2013. In 2001, this was less than 50 per cent. In 2014-15, Australia will also build 47 rural water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in nine provinces for 16,930 people and expand the National Medical Stores distribution network to three additional provincial centres.
  • improving quality of education. Australia will continue to assist 145,000 children to stay in school and increase the number of trained primary teachers from 63 per cent to 70 per cent of the teaching workforce in 2014-15
  • building skills to ensure young people are job-ready and supporting graduates in areas of labour shortage demanded by industry. Australia will provide up to 60 Australia Awards in 2014 and we aim for 126 Solomon Islanders to graduate from the Australia Pacific Technical College in 2014, compared to 115 in 2013.

Australia will promote women’s economic empowerment through:

  • supporting safer markets in which women can sell their produce, working with the police to help address family violence, and targeting at least 30 per cent female employment in road maintenance work through the infrastructure programme.

A hairdresser cutting a clients hair
Trish Dallu, APTC graduate hairdresser and owner of Trish and Ada’s Hair and Beauty (credit: DFAT).

Archived details of expenditure for this program for 2013–14 can be found here.

Archived details of expenditure for DFAT’s aid program, following the Government’s announcement on 18 January 2014 to revise the aid budget, can be found here.

Health

Results 2012-2013

  • Solomon Islands has made significant progress in reducing the impact of malaria. With Australia’s support the incidence rate by dropped by 75 per cent on 2003 levels.
  • One-third of all Solomon Island children are stunted due to under-nutrition. By 2015 our goal is to help SIG reduce child stunting to 20 per cent. We also aim to help Solomon Islands continue the decline in reducing under 5 mortality from 37 to 29 per 1000 live births and to help reduce the maternal mortality rate to 87 deaths per 100,000 births.
  • Our program will also help Solomon islands lift the proportion of the population with clean water and basic sanitation to 55 per cent and 40 per cent respectively by 2015.

Commitments 2013-2014

  • In 2013-14 our program will continue to support the decline in malaria and by 2015 reduce malaria related deaths to near zero. Australia will help ensure that 95 per cent of all health facilities are equipped with microscopes or diagnostic tests to help the accurate and rapid identification of malaria cases.
  • To help save lives Australian support will increase the number of births attended by skilled birth attendants to 90 per cent by 2015. The availability of essential medicine will be increased to 97 per cent at the national level. By 2015 our support will help increase exclusive breastfeeding to 90 per cent of all 0-6 month year olds and clinics will be stocked with oral rehydration salts to treat diarrhoea.
  • In 2014 Australia will fund the construction of an additional 40 community water or sanitation systems providing up to an additional 10,000 rural people with clean water or basic sanitation. We will also support the Solomon Islands Water Authority to improve water quality and expand water supply for up to 110,000 urban residents.

Education

Results 2012-2013

  • Access to primary education is relatively high at over 90 per cent. The Solomon Islands Government allocates a quarter of the national budget to education, however, the quality of education remains a major concern and fewer than half of primary school students reach a minimum standard of literacy. Post-secondary education and training is limited in terms of access and the quality of the courses.
  • Significant gender inequalities exist in Solomon Islands. Only one seat in the 50 seat parliament is held by a woman. The World Bank has rated Solomon Islands the worst country in the world for sexual violence in 2012. An estimated two-thirds of women experience violence.

Commitments 2013-2014

  • In 2013-14, Australia will help an estimated 150,000 children stay in school by supporting tuition fee-free basic education. At least 47 per cent of these will be girls. We will work to improve the competency of 1,500 primary school teachers through formal training, development of classroom assessment tools and regular school visits by experienced education officers. We will assist the new national university to improve the quality of courses in nursing and teaching to align with international standards.
  • Australia will increase the number of tertiary scholarships, so that 66 new students can access tertiary education at Australian and Pacific regional institutions in 2014. The total number of students on scholarships will reach over 172. Students will study in areas which support development priorities agreed under the Solomon Islands-Australia Partnership for Development.
  • In 2013-2014 we will support programs reaching 10,000 people that change attitudes to the roles of men and women and improve safety and improve economic opportunities for female vendors at produce markets. We will increase women’s access to justice through supporting the drafting of new family protection legislation. We will also support the Family Protection Unit in the Public Solicitor’s Office to represent and advise women affected by domestic violence.

Economic development

Results 2012-2013

  • More than 80 per cent of Solomon Islanders live in rural areas, where infrastructure and access to services is limited. Agriculture is the main source of employment and food security for rural communities. Agricultural exports are also among the country’s main exports, with cocoa, copra and palm oil the most significant agricultural commodities.
  • Financial services underpin livelihoods and functioning markets across all economic sub-sectors, but access is limited. Economic growth is constrained by limited transport, energy and telecommunications infrastructure.

Commitments 2013-2014

  • Australia will help 3,000 farm households improve crop and livestock production, conserve soil resources and increase their incomes. Australian support to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock will lead to the development of more productive and better quality cocoa varieties and will help to prevent, detect and manage pest and disease incursions.
  • Australian support for the Central Bank’s National Financial Inclusion Taskforce will enable an additional 30,000 Solomon Islanders, of whom at least 40 per cent will be women, to access appropriate and affordable financial services by 2014.
  • Australia will support the maintenance and rehabilitation of 500 kilometres of key roads and bridges and build up to four wharves in rural areas. We will provide 80,000 person work days to help boost incomes through labour-based road maintenance. At least 40 per cent of those employed will be women.

Governance

Results 2012-2013

  • Governance in Solomon Islands is stable, but remains fragile. In 2012, Solomon Islands debt to GDP ratio fell from 19 per cent to an estimated 14 per cent, well below what is considered to be the international acceptable benchmark of 30 per cent. Across the areas of economic and public sector governance and law and justice, the priority goals are transition from RAMSI across to Australian Aid, and improvements that will lead to better service delivery. The goals are to maintain the gains of RAMSI, and support the core functions of government such as budget and financial stability, debt management, cash management and human resources. In Law and Justice, the goals are to maintain the functioning of the courts and extend the reach of law and justice services into the provinces. With RAMSI support in 2012-13, the average length of remand dropped from 8.2 to 7.2 months.

Commitments 2013-2014

  • In 2013-14, Australia will support the Solomon Islands Government central agencies to maintain its core services such as budget, payroll, financial and personnel management. We will also support the government to implement significant changes with the proposed Public Financial Management Act, new procurement regulatory framework, Phase 2 of the Customs management system program, support for improved internal audit committees, and the roll-out of a new government wide ICT network to 26 departments. In 2013-14 we will assist the Institute of Public Administration and Management to deliver professional training to over 1,300 civil servants. We will also support the Office of the Auditor General to meet annual audit and reporting requirements.
  • We will support the National Statistics Office to complete the 2013 Household Income and Expenditure Survey. Ninety specially trained enumerators will visit 4,600 homes to provide an up-to-date snap shot of the country’s poverty data.
  • In 2013-14, support to the justice sector will aim to decrease the number of adjournments in the Magistrates’ Court by 5 per cent, keep recidivism rates stable at around 10 per cent, and increase the number of court sittings in provincial locations.
  • Provide support for those affected by the Makira floods.

Research overview

Good research can lead to positive change for the world’s poorest people by enhancing the design and implementation of development policies and programs. This is why Australian Aid is committed to an innovative research portfolio and funds research, including:

  • competitive funding mechanisms (such as the AusAID Development Research Awards Scheme)
  • research partnerships with different Australian, international and developing country research institutions
  • commissioning research to address a specific question or clearly defined research gap
  • one-off research grants, when an existing program of research is relevant to the Australian aid program.

Research funded by our Solomon Islands country program targets the country’s specific development challenges. Research is also carried out on a regional level. Some of the highlights of this research are listed below.

Solomon Islands Family Health and Safety Study: A study on violence against women and children

This report of the Solomon Islands Family Health and Safety Study analyses data and reports on findings of the first nationally representative study on violence against women and children.

This national survey was carried out by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in partnership with the Government of Solomon Islands, with funding from Australian Aid and the United Nations Population Fund. Using this evidence base, the Government of Solomon Islands has adopted a National Policy on Eliminating Violence Against Women and action plan to address violence against women. The results of the study are also informing legal reform of the Penal Code, which is being undertaken by the Solomon Islands Law Reform Commission.

Solomon Islands Family Health and Safety Study: A study on violence against women and children

People's Surveys (2007–2011)

The People’s Survey is an independent annual survey that provides a unique insight into the opinions of Solomon Islanders on a wide range of issues, including business and employment, law and order, public accountability and access to services.

The survey also provides important statistics on areas that are not directly related to RAMSI's work, including health and education.

People's Surveys (2007–2011)

Audience Market Research in Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands Media Assistance Scheme (SOLMAS) aims to improve the reach and quality of all Solomon Islands media.

SOLMAS initiated a project involving an all-media audience survey in Honiara and provinces to determine the needs of audiences and to explore whether these are being met. SOLMAS is an Australian Aid funded media for development project delivered through a partnership between RAMSI and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Audience Market Research in Solomon Islands

Where is the Solomon Islands?



View Larger Map

Country statistics

Population: 552,267

GDP growth (5 year average): 9 per cent

Percentage population living below the US$1.25 poverty line: -

Net Primary School completion rate: -

Ratio of female to male primary enrolment: -

Mortality rate of children under 5 (per 1,000): 22

Maternal mortality (per 100,000): 93

 
 

heading fold Why we give aid

quote

Solomon Islands is one of Australia’s closest neighbours. Since 2003, Australia has invested more than $2 billion through the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) to restore peace and stability following a period of civil conflict known as the “Tensions” (1998-2003). The country is on the path to peace and stability but remains very fragile. The World Bank estimates it takes up to 30 years for countries to recover from conflict.

Australian support under the Partnership for Development has increased since the transition of RAMSI in mid-2013. There is an enhanced focus on public sector governance, economic management and law and justice. This complements the existing focus on essential services (health and education) and broad based economic growth (transport and rural development). Together, these are important areas of assistance to support Solomon Island’s long term recovery and a positive development trajectory for the people of Solomon Islands.

Find out more about why we give aid to Solomon Islands

Find out more about the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands [external link]

 
 

heading foldHow we give aid

Australia provides support for development in Solomon Islands through the bilateral Partnership for Development and through a range of regional and global programs such as scholarship and volunteer initiatives. The bilateral Partnership for Development is a joint Solomon Islands—Australia commitment to work together to reduce poverty and support stronger progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. It also commits Solomon Islands and Australia to budgetary targets and agreed outcomes.

Find out more about how we give aid to Solomon Islands

Read the Solomon Islands Transitional Country Strategy 2006-mid 2007

Find out more about the Solomon Islands–Australia Partnership for Development

Read the Solomon Islands Aid Program Performance Report 2013-14

 
 

heading foldProgress Against MDGs

  • Eradicate extreme hunger & poverty
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability
 
 

Last reviewed: 28 October, 2014