Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Dr. Derek Sikua is encouraging Provincial Governments to open up their doors for foreign investment.

Dr. Sikua made the call as the government partners with the World Bank and other donors to introduce a multi-million dollar scheme to reduce unemployment in the country.

The Prime Minister said investment in rural areas will create much need jobs and it is crucial that provincial governments encourage and facilitate investments.

"Our provincial executives would do well to promote investment in their provinces because this is the only way we can get the rural economy growing in any meaningful way.

"We cannot all depend on the capital to provide jobs. Not all jobs can or should be in Honiara. It is already full and unable to expand," Dr Sikua explained.

The World Bank, AusAid, and the European Union are assisting the Government with a five year rural development program that began last year.

The program is being implemented by the Ministry of National Planning and Aid Coordination which operates in four provinces - Malaita, Temotu, Choiseul and Western provinces.

It is designed to assist rural communities in three specific areas. The first component focuses on improving rural infrastructure such as roads, schools and clinics.

The second aims to revitalize agricultural extension services. The third component provides loans to rural businesses through the commercial banks.

"There are so many resources in our islands, and I know for a fact that groups like the International Finance Corporation (IFC) - which is a part of the World Bank group - are keen to help," Dr Sikua said.

He said real job creation will come from real investments, not from handouts.

"Real investments are well researched ideas and business plans that pass the scrutiny of financial institutions such as banks which often provide loans. These are businesses that can make jobs for our people so they can have - not only income - but career prospects. Good businesses are sustainable ones that contribute to economic growth. As the economy grows, more people become employed," Dr Sikua explained.

Press Release (Government Communications Unit)