The Asian Development Bank's (ADB) updated program in Solomon Islands for the next three years will support prioritized investments in infrastructure and private sector development initiatives.

A grant assistance program of about $26 million with a focus on transport infrastructure will be the major vehicle for delivering ADB's Interim Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Solomon Islands 2009-2011. Through its investment, ADB will also catalyze additional funds from other development partners.

The global economic crisis is starting to impact on the economy, exacerbating structural challenges in the logging industry. It is putting at risk social and economic gains. ADB is working closely with the Government and other development partners in developing appropriate response options.

"The development context in the Solomon Islands is very challenging," said S. Hafeez Rahman, Director General of ADB's Pacific Department. "With the Interim CPS, ADB is responding through a sharply focused strategy and program, which seeks to promote private-sector led economic growth through improved transportation infrastructure and services and a more conducive environment for business."

ADB has been the lead donor in the transport sector since re-engagement after the civil conflict.

The ongoing Solomon Islands Road Improvement Project is rehabilitating high priority roads in rural areas and encourages women's participation in economic activity by improving their access to markets.

The Domestic Maritime Support Project directly assists economically-disadvantaged people in rural areas. The Project will also improve the safety, reliability, and frequency of interisland shipping services.

The Emergency Assistance Project is making good progress, assisting in the rehabilitation of roads and bridges damaged by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which devastated parts of the Western Solomon Islands in 2007.

ADB supports the improvement of the country's business environment by helping public enterprises perform better, and strengthening the legal systems for business to increase opportunities of access to finance. Recent support extended to the Government includes: drafting and developing the Secured Transactions and Companies Acts, and reforming selected state-owned enterprises.

"ADB over time has been engaging in comprehensive support in the areas of reform of state-owned enterprises, business law reform and access to finance," said Eugenue Zhukov, Regional Director of ADB's office in Australia. "These reforms aim to make the Solomon Islands an easier country to conduct business in."

A CPS is ADB's primary planning instrument for member countries that also serves to monitor and evaluate the country's development performance during the timeframe of the strategy.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members - 48 from the region. In 2008, it approved $10.5 billion of loans, $811.4 million of grant projects, and technical assistance amounting to $274.5 million.

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