Solomon Islands Economy and History

Solomon Islands History


The economy of Solomon, which remains the poorest country in the Pacific region, has had a notable growth, thanks to the activity related to the cutting and marketing of wood, which developed from the beginning of the nineties of the century. XX, at a very high pace, favored by the absence of export restrictions that protect the preservation of the archipelago’s forest heritage. Only since mid-1994, the government has imposed limits on exports, mainly due to the pressure exerted by the World Bank. § Fishing-related activities have also shown a significant increase, but beyond the value and quantity of the catch, the Solomons have benefited from the proceeds from the granting of fishing licenses within the exclusive economic zone; the exploitation of fish, however, is superior to the natural repopulation of the waters, entailing high environmental risks. In 1997, violent ethnic clashes also led to an economic collapse; in 2003 RAMSI intervened with the aim of disarming the ethnic militias, restoring order and bringing the country back to modest economic growth. The GDP growth rate has undergone considerable fluctuations with a sustained increase in the 1990s and a sharp decline in the early 2000s; in 2008 the GDP was US $ 473 million; while that per capita was US $ 905. Agriculture – in particular the cultivation of oil palm, but also of rice, sweet potato, taro, yam, cassava, fruit, vegetables and spices – is still mostly linked to subsistence products and traditionally forms the basis of poor island economy despite only a small part of the territory being arable; the only commercial crops are that of the coconut palm and copra and cocoa. The production framework has been somewhat diversified thanks to the development of farming (especially cattle and pigs), fishing (mainly tuna) and the exploitation of the forest heritage, which however has reached such high levels as to seriously threaten the environment. § Mineral prospecting has also intensified, leading to the identification of gold, silver and copper deposits on the island of Guadalcanal, of asbestos on the island of Choiseul, of phosphates on the island of Bellona; there are also zinc and asbestos deposits in the country, nickel and bauxite. Fish processing (freezing, canning, smoking) is one of the very few activities that have given impetus to the development of the manufacturing sector. In response to government incentives, other sectors have also shown a certain dynamism: for example, the decision to eliminate taxes on US imports of clothing manufactured on the archipelago, has favored the birth of a clothing industry. Despite the fact that some production units have been built on the island of Guadalcanal for the processing of spices, agricultural products, clothing and especially fish, the weight of the industrial sector remains very low. § Tourism is not particularly developed, mainly due to the lack of accommodation facilities, transport and the presence of malaria. The strengthening of the economy is seriously hampered by the shortage of communication routes (1360 km); among the means of transport small boats prevail, which connect the various islands; maritime services are also the services that unite the country with the other main states of Oceania as well as with various European ports and with Japan, mainly referring to the port of Honiara on Guadalcanal, Yandina on the island of Russell and Noro on the island of New Georgia. Airborne communications are more widespread; the country has 2 international airports. Foreign trade takes place mainly with China, South Korea and Japan for exports and Australia, Singapore and Japan for imports; exports consist essentially of fish (especially tuna), timber, copra, palm oil and cocoa; imports from food, fuel, chemicals. International aid, which finances a large part of development plans, is still very important.


Protectorate of Great Britain since 1893, in January 1976 the Solomons obtained self-government. After achieving independence within the Commonwealth (July 7, 1978), Peter Kenilorea (1978-1981), the Party for the Unity of the Solomons (SIUPA), and Solomon Mamaloni ( 1981-1984), for the Popular Alliance Party (PAP), which fought for greater cooperation between the Melanesian states within the South Pacific Forum. According to usprivateschoolsfinder, after alternating between these two parties, Bartholomew Ulufa’alu of the Liberal Party of Solomon (SILP) was elected in 1997. The second millennium ended for the Solomons, starting one of the darkest phases of their history: the ethnic war between the natives of the battle of the Solomons), when US forces landed in Guadalcanal, facing the Japanese who had occupied the island. Having become the former military camp seat of the capital of the Solomons with independence (1978), hundreds of people immigrated from the nearby island of Malaita, causing resentment of the original residents of Guadalcanal. With the appointment as prime minister of Bartholomew Ulufa’alu, of Malaitian origin, therefore, the tension between the two ethnic groups was destined to grow. While the rebel organization, Isatabu Freedom Fighters, launched its retaliation against the residents of Malaita, a group of Malaitians started the Malaita Eagles Force which in June 2000, under the leadership of Andrew Nori, with a coup d’état, he took control of the capital and took Prime Minister Bartholomew Ulufa’alu hostage, accused of not having been able to stop the abuses against his fellow citizens. In his place was elected Manasseh Sogavare of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP). In October the forces in the field signed a peace agreement, which was however rejected, so much so that in 2003 the countries of the Pacific Forum (including Australia) sent a multinational contingent to stem the escalation of violence. In the parliamentary elections, held in March 2006, the independents won with 30 seats. In April the Parliament voted for the prime minister and elected Rini who formed the government, but he did not get the confidence of the Parliament. Subsequently, Manasseh Sogavare was elected prime minister who formed the government.

Solomon Islands History