12 May 2014

RAMSI 'costly and disproportionate' - academic

4:44 am on 12 May 2014

A Lowy Insitute report says despite some impressive achievements, Australia's decade-long assistance in Solomon Islands has been a costly and disproportionate investment.

Launched in 2003, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, or RAMSI, was instigated to restore law and order and reconstitute a shattered economy.

The report's author and Melanesia program director, Jenny Hayward-Jones, says the 2.4 billion US dollar contribution by Australia was too high a price to pay for restoring stability in a small country.

She says important lessons to be taken from RAMSI are the importance of knowing how much to spend and when to leave.

"Without an effective exit strategy or a consistent means of measuring impact, and then making hard political decisions about when that impact is achieved and when it is basically safe to leave it to Solomon Islands to get on with running their own country, it certainly was a difficult one to plan."

Jenny Hayward-Jones says over the decade of RAMSI's assistance, Solomon Islands became the second most aid-dependent country in the world.