The Solomon Islands Government has signed a cooperation agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to work towards attracting more investors to the country, and strengthen its private sector to create jobs and improve the livelihoods of its people.
IFC is a member of the World Bank group which coordinates its activities with the other institutions of the World Bank Group but is legally and financially independent.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Clay Forau and IFC Regional Manager for the Pacific, Gavin Murray signed the agreement in Honiara in the presence of Finance Minister Rick Hou and IFC’s Country Resident Representative, Seva Payevskiy.
IFC has had a small presence in the Solomon Islands since 2010. Under the new agreement, it will maintain a permanent office with four staff to be based in Honiara, including Country Resident Representative, Seva Payevskiy. He oversees IFC’s operations, including support for small and medium enterprises and generating new investments in key sectors including energy, fisheries, and tourism.
Minister Forau said the private sector makes up 80 per cent of Solomon Islands economy through small, medium and large business enterprise which is also commonly described as the engine room of Solomon Islands economy.
“IFC’s commitment towards the development of our private productive sector is crucial and warmly welcomed,” he said.
Last year, IFC invested $10 million in SolTuna Ltd., a tuna processor in the Solomon Islands, to help the company expand its facilities in Noro, Western Province. The expansion is expected to create an additional 500 jobs, allowing the local women and economy to benefit more from the income generated by the tuna industry, which is vital to the Solomon Islands’ economy.
“IFC is scaling up its Pacific operations and we have already begun to see transformation take place in places like the Solomon Islands,” said IFC Regional Manager for the Pacific, Gavin Murray.
“With this agreement, we will focus our attention on helping the Solomon Islands take further advantage of its valuable natural resources while growing local businesses, creating jobs, and improving the skills of women.”
IFC is located in the World Bank Group headquarters at Mud Alley road in Honiara.
Source: Press Release, Government Communications Unit