How we are helping
2014/15 Budget Estimate:
Australia is Solomon Islands’ major economic, development and security partner. Australia’s development assistance is focused on building a stable nation underpinned by viable institutions and economic growth. We are the largest donor in Solomon Islands, providing around seventy per cent of Solomon Islands’ aid. Since 2003, Australia has, through our bilateral program and the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), restored law and order, rebuilt national institutions and stabilised the economy.
Australia’s assistance through the bilateral program has a focus on public sector governance, economic management and law and justice, as well as 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.
Solomon Islands is ranked 157th out of 187 countries on the 2014 UN Human Development Index. Its GDP per capita, among the lowest in the region at US$2000 per capita, has only now recovered to income levels before the Tensions in 1998-2003. Around 23 per cent of the population lives below the basic needs poverty line. Solomon Islands remains one of the most aid dependent countries in the world and lags behind other Pacific countries on most development indicators.
Solomon Islands’ population is highly dispersed—about 550,000 people live across 92 islands, the vast majority in rural areas. The majority of the population has limited access to basic services such as health, education, water, sanitation and infrastructure.
Unemployment is a major concern, with a population growth of 2 per cent per annum and a limited labour market of 55,000 jobs. Only 15 per cent of school leavers find paid employment. Ongoing internal migration to the capital in search of jobs and the cash economy increases the pressure on services in Honiara.
In Solomon Islands, gender inequality is evident in all parts of daily life. Women are under-represented in political and government institutions. Violence against women is pervasive; an estimated two-thirds of women aged 15-49 have experienced physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner.
Australia supports better quality education and skills development to ensure young people have the knowledge and skills they need to be job-ready and contribute positively to society.
Australia Awards scholarships support emerging leaders to contribute to economic and social development.
Education assistance in Solomon Islands
Australia is working closely with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to ensure all Solomon Islanders have access to good quality basic health care. Our support is helping to improve medicine supply, combat malaria, provide access to clean water and safe sanitation as well as strengthen the public health system.
Health assistance in Solomon Islands
Improving the quality of governance in Solomon Islands is central to maintaining macroeconomic and social stability, delivering sustainable and equitable services including health, education and infrastructure and improving private sector confidence. The governance program aims to improve government’s ability to manage the economy and create an enabling environment for private sector investment. Australia works in partnership with the Solomon Islands Government to improve the professionalism and accountability of public servants to provide necessary public services that support economic growth.
Governance assistance in Solomon Islands
The effective delivery of justice services and maintenance of the rule of law are necessary conditions for economic growth and poverty reduction. The Solomon Islands Justice Program aims to improve the delivery of justice services by assisting the state’s justice agencies to perform their core functions, by strengthening laws and services that focus on violence against women, and by increasing access to justice for people in remote locations.
Justice assistance in Solomon Islands
Infrastructure and livelihoods
Australia is assisting the Solomon Islands Government to improve transport infrastructure, including maintaining and building roads and wharves, and the delivery and cost of utilities. Australia is working with Solomon Islands Government to improve and create long-term opportunities for economic livelihoods and food security for Solomon Islanders, particularly those living in rural areas.
Infrastructure and livelihoods assistance in Solomon Islands
Australia is helping to build the capacity of Solomon Islands government agencies and community organisations to prevent family violence, improve economic livelihoods for women and promote leadership opportunities at a formal and community level.
Gender equality in Solomon Islands
- The incidence of malaria has fallen from 199 cases per 1,000 people in 2003, to 45 cases per 1,000 in 2013.
- In 2013 Australia provided grants which allowed 145,000 children to go school and supported an increase in trained primary teachers - from 60 to 70 per cent.
- In 2013 Australian assisted the Solomon Islands Government to maintain or rehabilitate 417 km of roads.
- Australian-supported road and other infrastructure works have created 157,622 person days of employment, 42 per cent of this employment was for women.
- As a result of Australian support, the average proportion of Solomon Water samples that pass WHO bacteria standards increased from less than half in 2011 to 90 per cent in 2014.
- Australia has support the completion of 157 village infrastructure projects, including village water supply systems, wharves, village roads, community halls and staff houses for nurses and teachers.
- An additional 62,046 people accessed banking services by the end of 2013 from 2010. Of these new customers, 31,915 were added in 2013, of which 10,133 were female customers.
- Australia has supported the development and implementation of key policies and legislation, including implementing the new Public Financial Management Act 2013.
- With Australian support, the Solomon Islands Family Protection Act was passed in August 2014.