Solomon Islands Country Brief

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  1. Independence Day: 7 July 1978
  2. National Day: 7 July
  3. Language: English, Solomon Pidgin
  4. Capital: Honiara
  5. Land Area: 27,556 square kilometers
  6. Geographical Location: Solomon Islands is the third largest archipelago in the South Pacific, comprising 992 islands with large landmasses, mountains, forests and coral atolls. Located 1,800 kilometers northeastern to Australia’s Queensland, Solomon Islands is bordered with Papua New Guinea in the north and Vanuatu in the south. The country's capital, Honiara, is situated on the northwest coast on the island of Guadalcanal.
  7. Population: 57,000 (2015 estimation)
  8. Ethnic Chinese: There are about 2,000 ethnic Chinese. Most of them are from Hong Kong, Canton Province and South East Asian, with only a dozen more from Taiwan.
  9. Religion: Christians and Catholics
  10. Dollar: Solomon Islands Dollar

Overview

About 95% of the population are Melanesians with some other smaller Polynesians, Micronesians, Chinese and European communities. There are 87 indigenous languages including Melanesian Pidgin English which is used predominantly. About 90% of land is covered with tropical forestry with natural resources of wood, gold, nickel, copper, cobalt, aluminum etc. The exclusive economic zone reaches about 1.34 million square kilometers and is an important fishing area in the South Pacific.

Government History

Spanish explorers visited Solomon Islands in 1568. Britain established a protectorate over the eastern group of islands in 1893, while Germany controlling most of the western islands. Following the Anglo-German agreement in 1899, the British protectorate extended to most areas of the today’s islands. During World War II, Japanese occupied the islands while Americans recovered them after the war. In January 1976, Solomon Islands had its own Constitution and became a self government. On 7 July 1978, Britain granted independence to Solomon Islands, which became the 37th member state of the Commonwealth. Solomon Islands joined in the United Nations on 19th September 1978.

Political System

  1. Solomon Islands follows the Westminster system of constitutionally democracy with the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II retained as Head of State and represented by a Governor General. The incumbent Governor General is Sir Frank Kabui.
  2. The unicameral national parliament consists of 50 members, elected for a four-year term. The Members of Parliament (MP) elected the Speaker of the Parliament, who is without the MP title. The Deputy Speaker is elected among the MP, who retains MP title. The incumbent Speaker is Mr. Ajilon Jasper Nasiu.
  3. The Prime Minister is head of government and is elected by an absolute majority of MP. Cabinet Ministers are recommended by the Prime Minister to the Governor-General for approvals. There are currently 23 cabinet ministers.
  4. The country is divided into 10 administrative areas, of which nine are provinces, administered by elected provincial assemblies, and the 10th is the city of Honiara, administered by a council, headed by a mayor.

Bilateral Relations

  1. Solomon Islands and Taiwan established diplomatic ties in March 1983. In May 1983, Taiwan set up its Consulate General in Honiara and then upgraded it into Embassy in September 1985. Solomon Islands established its embassy in Taipei in May 2005. Taiwan’s current Ambassador to Solomon Islands is H.E. Roger Luo while Solomon Islands’ Ambassador to Taiwan is Amb. Joeseph Waleanisia.
  2. Bilateral relations have been close and strong since the establishment of diplomatic ties. Taiwan helps Solomon Islands in agriculture, education, health, transportation, rural development, law and order and so on, while Solomon Islands assists Taiwan to participate in the United Nations, the World Health Organization and other regional or international organizations.
  3. Bilateral visits of high rank officials are very frequent. Governor General, Sir Frank Kabui, Prime Ministers and some other cabinet ministers visited Taiwan frequently; President Chen led a delegation to Solomon Islands in Janurary 2005; President Ma led a delegation to Solomon Islands in March 2010.
  4. There are bilateral agriculture and health cooperation agreements. Taiwan Technical Mission, TTM cooperates with Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Solomon Islands in promoting rice and vegetables plantations as well as pigs raising. Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, KMUH established sister relationship with National Referral Hospital (NRH). KMUH also set up Taiwan Health Center, sends medical doctors and donates medical equipments to NRH as well as provides training courses for Solomon Islands medical staff.
  5. ROC Taiwan Navy Midshipmen Cruising Training Squadron visits Solomon Islands every two years. Many Solomon Islands students are granted Taiwan Scholarships to study in Taiwan for tertiary degrees. Taiwan’s International Cooperation and Development Fund also invites Solomon Islanders to attend various seminars and workshops in Taiwan. Bilateral cultural and educational exchanges are very close.
  6. The exclusive economic zone of Solomon Islands is an important fishing area for Taiwanese fishing vessels. Taiwan Tuna Association has fishing agreements with Department of Fisheries and Resources, Solomon Islands.

Foreign Relations

  1. Solomon Islands is a member of many regional and international bodies, including the Pacific Islands Forum, the Melanesian Spearhead Group, the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Forum Fisheries Agency is based in Honiara, with other international agencies like UNDP, UNIFEM, UNICEF and WHO also having their branch offices in the capital city.
  2. Australia, Britain, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Japan, ROC Taiwan and the European Commission all have diplomatic representatives in Honiara. The United States has a resident consular agent. Solomon Islands has diplomatic missions in Canberra, Port Moresby, Brussels, Taipei and at the UN in New York.

Economic Outlook

  1. Gross Domestic Product, GDP: US$ 1.9 Billion (2013)
  2. GDP per capita: US$ 1,953 (2013)
  3. Total Exports: US$ 448 Million (2015)
  4. Total Imports: US$ 464 Million (2015)
  5. Main Exports: timber, raw fish, copra, palm oil, gold sand and cocoa.
  6. Main Imports: machinery, transportation equipments, manufacturing goods, food and fuels
  7. Major trading partners: Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong