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Belt and Road Countries -- Solomon Islands

September 22, 2020


Abstract : Infrastructure development is a strategic action for the Solomon Islands to drive development forward and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is right in the core of it, according to the country's Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

Infrastructure development is a strategic action for the Solomon Islands to drive development forward and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is right in the core of it, according to the country's Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

China opened its embassy in the Solomon Islands on Sept. 21, 2020, one year after the two countries established diplomatic relationship.

The two countries signed a joint communique in Beijing on the establishment of diplomatic relations on Sept. 21, 2019.

According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, China's combined trade volume with eight Pacific island countries reached 4.32 billion dollars in 2018, growing over 25 percent year-on-year.

Currently, China is the biggest trading partner and export market for the Solomon Islands.

Solomon Islands, country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of a double chain of volcanic islands and coral atolls in Melanesia. The country comprises most of the Solomons chain, with the exception of Buka and Bougainville, two islands at the northwestern end that form an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea.

Once a British protectorate, Solomon Islands achieved independence as a republic in 1978. Honiara, on the north coast of Guadalcanal Island, is Solomon Islands’ capital and largest city.

--Land

The main islands of the group are large and rugged, rising to 7,644 feet (2,330 metres) at Mount Popomanaseu on Guadalcanal. They lie in two parallel chains running northwest-southeast: the southern chain includes Vella Lavella, the New Georgia Islands, Savo, and Guadalcanal; the northern, Choiseul, Santa Isabel, and Malaita. The chains converge on San Cristobal (Makira Island). The Santa Cruz Islands are a group of small islands located some 345 miles (555 km) east of Guadalcanal; the largest island in the group is Nendö (also called Ndeni Island or Santa Cruz Island). Geologically, the Solomon Islands are part of the volcanic arc extending from New Ireland in Papua New Guinea to Vanuatu.

--People

Most of the people live in small rural villages. They engage mainly in subsistence gardening, pig raising, and fishing but are also involved in the cash economy.

The vast majority of the population is ethnically Melanesian. Polynesians, who form a small minority, live mainly on outlying atolls, principally Ontong Java Atoll, Bellona, Rennell Island, the Reef Islands, the Stewart Islands (Sikaiana), Tikopia, and Anuta. There are also small numbers of Chinese and Europeans and of Gilbertese from Micronesia who were resettled on Ghizo and Vaghena islands between 1955 and 1971 by British administrators seeking to alleviate overpopulation in the Gilbert Islands (now Kiribati).

--Economy

Civil unrest in the late 1990s and early 21st century, including a coup in 2000, led to the near collapse of the country’s economy. Damage to infrastructure on Guadalcanal resulted, disrupting transportation, commerce, and agriculture, and many enterprises were forced out of business. The 2007 earthquakes and tsunami caused further economic setbacks.

In the early 21st century the service sector employed the majority of the active workforce and contributed almost half of the country’s gross domestic product. Tourism has been developed but is not a major source of income. Solomon Islands’ main resources, fish and timber, have been exploited excessively, which has resulted in their depletion. Its other export products are derived from plantation crops: palm oil, copra, and cacao (the source of cocoa). China and Australia are the major recipients. The chief imports are machinery, fuels, manufactured goods, and food, and Australia, Singapore, and China are the main suppliers.

The Solomon Islands dollar is the official currency; indigenous currencies such as shell money (from Malaita) and red-feather money (from Santa Cruz) are also made for use in customary transactions.

-- Government and Society

Solomon Islands is a constitutional monarchy, with the British monarch, represented by a governor-general, serving as the formal head of state. Still, the country, a member of the Commonwealth, is independent, and the governor-general is appointed on the advice of the unicameral National Parliament. The governor-general, who serves a term of up to five years, must be a citizen of Solomon Islands. Members of the Parliament are elected by universal adult suffrage and serve for four years (unless Parliament is dissolved sooner). Executive power is exercised by a prime minister (elected by and from Parliament) and a cabinet appointed by the governor-general from among the members of Parliament on the recommendation of the prime minister. Although political parties exist in name, their organization and discipline tend to be loose. The prime minister rarely commands a clear majority in Parliament, and so governments are usually formed of a coalition of parties or factions. Local government councils control matters regarding transportation, economic development, health, and education.

Education is not compulsory. Schools are run both by the national and provincial governments and by various churches. Many secondary schools provide practical training in fields such as agriculture and development studies. There are several teacher-training schools and a technical institute, as well as a campus of the University of the South Pacific in Honiara. Some students attend universities overseas, especially in Fiji and Papua New Guinea. There is a hospital at Honiara.

-- Culture

Much of traditional culture endures. Crafts are promoted by the Solomon Islands National Museum, established in 1969 in Honiara, and dances and music are regularly performed. Panpipes and percussive “bamboo bands” (assemblages of drums made of bamboo) are popular. An indigenous literary movement developed in the late 20th century; the writing is in English and mostly published in Solomon Islands. For a more detailed discussion of the culture of Solomon Islands, see Melanesian culture.

(The above information from Internet)

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