Overview of Australia's aid program to Solomon Islands

How we are helping

2016-17 Total Australian ODA Estimated Outcome
$164.1 million

2017-18 Bilateral Budget Estimate
$92.7 million

2017-18 Total Australian ODA Estimate
$142.2 million

Australia has a deep and longstanding relationship with Solomon Islands. Australia is the largest provider of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Solomon Islands, providing almost two thirds of overseas aid in 2016-17.

In 2017-18, total Australian ODA to Solomon Islands will be an estimated $142.2 million. Of this, DFAT will manage an estimated $92.7 million in bilateral funding.

Following the conclusion of Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) on 30 June 2017, Australia will continue to maintain a substantial investment in Solomon Islands, including: development support for justice and governance managed by DFAT; and police development, which will be delivered by the Australian Federal Police through the bilateral program.

Solomon Islands has made significant gains in the last decade, however major constraints to growth and private sector investment still exist, including low quality infrastructure, under developed labour skills, high utility costs and land tenure issues. Public administration and financial management can reduce incentives for international investors as well as local firms.

Entrenched gender inequality constrains the opportunities available to women, to the detriment of the economy and society more broadly. Rates of violence against women are among the highest in the world with an estimated two-thirds of women aged 15–49 having experienced physical or sexual violence.

Development outcomes in Solomon Islands are behind the rest of the region. Solomon Islands is ranked 156 out of 187 countries on the 2016 United Nations Human Development Index. Gross Domestic Product per capita is among the lowest in the pacific at around US$2,000 and has only now recovered to levels before RAMSI.

In the long term, inclusive economic growth and strengthened human productivity will underpin stability in Solomon Islands. Solomon Islands Government's own National Development Strategy recognises this with a focus on economic growth, poverty reduction and quality social services. To support this, Australia will retain a strategic focus on stability while increasing emphasis on investments that directly facilitate economic growth and enable wealth creation.

Our program focuses on three strategic objectives as outlined in the Aid Investment Plan (AIP) for 2015–16 to 2018–19:

  • Supporting stability
  • Enabling economic growth
  • Enhancing human development

Australia is committed to ensuring our development efforts in Solomon Islands achieve outcomes for women and girls and people with disabilities.

Objective 1: Supporting stability

A stable Solomon Islands is critical to economic growth, human development and regional security. Australia will help to maintain stability in Solomon Islands through new programs in governance, police development and justice. These programs will focus on maintaining and strengthening key institutions to improve macroeconomic stability, provide better access to services, and contribute to safer communities in Solomon Islands.

Objective 1: Supporting stability

Objective 2: Enabling economic growth

Australia will increasingly support aid for trade initiatives that promote growth in Solomon Islands' economy and build an enabling environment for investment. Australia will work with the private sector to promote rural development and generate employment opportunities, with a strong focus on women.

Australia will continue to support infrastructure that enables economic growth. We will help increase access and use of financial services in Solomon Islands, in particular for rural women, through innovations including mobile phone and branchless banking technologies.

Australia's Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) connects Pacific island including Solomon Islands workers with Australian employers experiencing labour shortages, typically in rural and remote areas.

Objective 2: Enabling economic growth

Objective 3: Enhancing human development

Australia supports education and health outcomes in Solomon Islands, which ultimately underpin stability and boost economic growth. We support better quality education and skills development with dedicated support to women entrepreneurs. Australia Awards scholarships support emerging leaders to contribute to economic and social development of Solomon Islands. In health, Australia works closely with the Solomon Islands Government to deliver better health services to communities.

Objective 3: Enhancing human development

Our results

Our results for 2016–17 will be updated later this year. In 2015-16, Australia's aid program contributed to:

  • stronger Solomon Islands Government service delivery and macroeconomic stability through consolidation of public sector and public financial management reforms.
  • increased access to justice through Australia's support to Solomon Islands' courts and other justice agencies.
  • a more attractive enabling environment for business by playing a critical convening role to support the private sector.
  • the maintenance of 887km of roads (up from 255km in 2011 and 643km in 2014-15). Roadworks generated 11,923 person months of employment, of which 60 per cent was taken up by women (up from 52 per cent in 2014).
  • the facilitation of over $44 million in exports and increased efficiencies in clearance of goods through Australia's support to Solomon Islands Customs and the introduction of a new customs automation system.
  • significant progress over the past decade in population health: maternal mortality has reduced by two thirds, child mortality has reduced by half and malaria incidence has declined by 75 per cent.
  • improved teacher training, literacy and numeracy, and school infrastructure. In 2015, the literacy and numeracy competence of Year 4 students was tested. 75.6 per cent of students were performing at expected literacy levels and 76.3 per cent at expected numeracy levels. These results are well above the AIP performance benchmark for 2015-16 (66.4 per cent).
  • a new approach to Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (RWASH) in Solomon Islands – Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) - a non-subsidised, demand-driven approach to community sanitation and hygiene projects. This resulted in 220 additional households using an improved toilet and 168 additional households having a place to wash hands with soap and water.
  • responding to and preventing violence against women through the implementation of the Family Protection Act 2014, a major milestone in Solomon Islands' efforts to address domestic violence.

Our changing program

The three strategic objectives of the Solomon Islands Aid Investment Plan are closely connected and mutually reinforcing.  Over the life of the AIP, we will continue to adjust the relative weight of our programming between these three objectives as Solomon Islands continues to recover from conflict. This will be achieved mainly through a gradual and careful shift out of aid investments that underpin stability and prevent wealth destruction and into investments that directly facilitate economic growth and enable wealth creation.

Australia will also help achieve outcomes for women and girls in Solomon Islands by integrating effective responses to gender inequality into new and existing programs.

Last Updated: 9 May 2017
Trish Dallu, APTC graduate hairdresser and owner of Trish and Ada’s Hair and Beauty (credit: DFAT).
A banner is displayed during a peace rally in Honiara, Solomon Islands (credit: Australian Federal Police).
Building a road between Auki and Malu'u, Solomon Islands (credit: DFAT).