Infrastructure Key to Solomon Island Recovery: ADB
ADB says Infrastructure key to economic recovery for Solomon Islands
The Asian Development Bank has announced a USD $200,000 grant to be given to the Solomon Islands government to help fund humanitarian and relief efforts following recent major floods.
The ADB's Country Economist for Solomon Islands, Milovan Lucich, spoke with Koroi Hawkins about the economic impacts of the disaster.
MILOVAN LUCICH: In the short term youar going to see some significant impacts, you've had gold production suspended, I would also expect reduced exports of a lot of logging and agricultural commodities as well.
KOROI HAWKINS: What's the worst hit on the economy?
ML: Obviously damage to infrastructure will have a significant effect, I mean not just the immediate impact but that also prevents a lot of productive activities for example the port in Honiara for which there's limited access at the moment through road and bridge issues. That's the centre for export of commodities such as sawn timber, palm oil and some of the small holder agricultural produce such as copra, cocoa and vanilla. Similarly the lack of road and bridge access has meant that Gold Ridge Mine has had to suspend its activities.
KH: Before the floods what was the outlook?
ML: Economically growth in Solomon Islands was expected to pick up slowly to about 3.0 percent growth following fairly modest growth last year. What we are seeing in the Solomon Islands is growth slowing from much higher levels earlier in the decade which were driven by unsustainably high logging.
KH: Will that be affected, that outlook?
ML: I think particularly this years outlook will certainly be impacted in the short term. We are going to certainly see much weaker export performance in the short term. We can't give exact figures at the moment because that is still being assessed but certainly you'd expect a fairly substantial negative impact in the next few months but then picking up later in the year.
KH: And what's the way forward for Solomon Islands at this point?
ML: Key emphasis has to be on restoring connectivity of key infrastructure, particularly some of the key bridges and roads around the capital Honiara. That will be a key priority.
KH: And for the ADB what are you looking at. Is there assistance coming in anyway?
ML: ADB has just announced a grant of 200,000 dollars to the Government. In addition the ADB is lead donor in the infrastructure sector in Solomon Islands and we have had teams looking at the damage and assessing the plans going forward and so that will be announced later in the year.
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