Development assistance in Solomon Islands
Overview of Australia’s development partnership with Solomon Islands
- 2020-21 bilateral allocation [budget estimate]
- $103.1 million
- 2020-21 total Australian ODA [budget estimate]1
- $156.8 million
- 2019-20 total Australian ODA [actual expenditure]1
- $161.7 million
1 Total Australian ODA includes expenditure from all DFAT bilateral, regional and global programs, and other Australian Government agencies, attributable to Solomon Islands.
Australia and Solomon Islands are strong security, development and economic partners. We share similar COVID-19 response goals—to save lives and livelihoods and emerge stronger post-pandemic. Australia is Solomon Islands' largest bilateral donor and we are re-shaping our efforts in response to COVID‑19.
Australia is partnering with Solomon Islands to implement Solomon Islands' National Development Strategy (2016-2035). We are scaling up health systems support, improving access to services through investments in education, telecommunications and infrastructure, helping build capacity in the police force and boosting the skills of Solomon Islands' workers to contribute to economic recovery.
Australia will work with the Solomon Islands Government to implement Australia's new development strategy — Partnerships for Recovery: Australia's COVID-19 Development Response — which is focussed on health security, stability and economic recovery. Country specific details are outlined in the Solomon Islands COVID-19 Development Response Plan.
It is vital that Solomon Islands' health services are capable of responding to COVID-19. Our Health Systems Support Program has been scaled-up to provide an-additional $8 million in response to COVID-19 in 2019-20. This funding has increased pandemic preparedness, supported provincial health services and enabled domestic COVID-19 testing capacity. Australia provided preparedness and response advice, a temporary quarantine facility, funding for public awareness material and improved laboratory capacity for COVID-19 testing. As the largest development partner in the health sector, Australia will support a renewed focus on funding for broader health system priorities and incorporate climate change and disaster resilience measures into our programs.
A stable Solomon Islands is critical to economic growth, human development and regional security. Australia's programs in governance, justice and policing will continue to work towards safer communities in Solomon Islands. Australia will support the Solomon Islands Government to enhance border security and to extend the reach of government services and economic networks more broadly throughout the country. Social inclusion will be a key focus, as will supporting schools to stay open and strengthening access to judicial and correctional services. Women and children in Solomon Islands will likely experience the economic and health impacts of COVID-19 to a greater degree than men. Australia will identify ways to actively address imbalances in opportunity across our investments, and will work to ensure women and children, including women and children with disabilities, have access to protection and support services.
Australia will support the Solomon Islands Government's efforts to promote economic response and recovery, private sector resilience, open markets and supply chains, improved livelihoods and inclusive growth. We will help to build the appropriately skilled workforce that the public and private sectors need through our training and education programs, and continue to support the Solomon Islands Government to achieve its ambitious labour mobility target of 10,000 workers per year through our Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Workers Program. We will support the agriculture sector, improve economic growth and employment opportunities, safeguard rural and peri-urban livelihoods and improve food security for rural households, including through our aid for trade initiatives, Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Plus, and our private sector program, Strongim Bisnis. A key vehicle for promoting economic recovery and increasing employment will be Australia's new 10-year $250 million Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program (SIIP), which will complement our $2 billion Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP).
Recent program highlights
Key recent achievements that Australian development assistance has delivered in Solomon Islands include:
- Completion of the Coral Sea Cable in 2020; a submarine fibre optic telecommunications cable linking Honiara to Sydney, delivering faster more reliable internet connectivity to the Solomon Islands. Australia majority funded the project committing $200 million.
- Significant progress on the Tina River Hydropower Development Project. A step closer to providing clean energy to Honiara. Australia was the largest grant financier with an investment of $28.4 million.
- Australia's Health Sector Support Program has helped register 66 new doctors in Solomon Islands since 2015. This increase in qualified doctors has improved the quality of health services, with 13 additional doctors posted to provincial health facilities in 2019 (a 45 per cent increase on 2018).
- In 2019-20, Australia's Education Sector Support Program (ESSP) has helped train 267 teachers and supported the construction of four girls' dormitories and ablution blocks, one science lab and three classrooms and repairs to eight school buildings. ESSP support has helped Solomon Islands to achieve improvements in primary literacy and numeracy results in regional tests.
- Australia supported 37 Solomon Islanders in 2019-20 to commence tertiary studies in Australia and the Pacific region under the Australia Awards program. Almost half the scholarships were awarded to women.
- In 2019, Australia funded the maintenance and improvement of 142 kilometres of roads in Solomon Islands to improve transport infrastructure and help support increased economic activity.
- Australia's rural development and private sector programs have improved provincial services including water supply, village halls and market houses, and established 35 linkages between producers and market outlets. These programs have also helped more than 1874 women gain access to finance or report an increase in income in 2019.
- Since 2017, the Pacific Financial Inclusion Program has enabled over 15,000 Solomon Islanders working in the informal sector to save for their futures with the youSave superannuation program; over 300 businesses and 12 licensed tax agents now use the new online tax payment system with the Solomon Islands Inland Revenue Department.
- In 2019-20, 228 workers (28 female) participated in the Seasonal Workers Programme (a decrease of 86 workers from last year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions) and 134 Solomon Islanders (6 female) were mobilised under the Pacific Labour Scheme (an increase of 114 workers from last year).
- In 2019-20 Australian governance and justice achievements included: 124 (50 female and 74 men) law and justice officials receiving training; 1,100 cases were heard and disposed of in Magistrates Court in 2019-20, an increase of 87 from 2018–19; 1,342 women used emergency shelter, health, sexual abuse or referral services, an increase from 919 in 2018–19.
- Through support from Australia's gender program, more women have accessed violence support services, the number of women accessing counselling increased from 580 in 2018 to 1,240 in 2019; of this, a total of 256 rural women and girls accessed services from the five provincial volunteer committees.
- In 2019, through the Australia Pacific Training Coalition, (APTC) 100 Solomon Islands (53 female) now have an Australian-recognised qualification; Solomon Islands has the highest female graduate ratio across the APTC platform. Thirty-four per cent of graduates reported being in a higher role after graduating.