Trade development critical for economic growth of Solomon Islands
The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), a multi-donor programme which supports the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in addressing supply side constraints, continues to be an important mechanism for Solomon Islands to boost economic growth through trade and should be maintained in the future. This was reaffirmed by the Solomon Islands Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Clay Forau Soalaoi, during a meeting with the Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), Arancha Gonzalez, on 17 March 2014 in Geneva. The Minister highlighted the recent launch of an EIF-funded tourism project which will help boost this key sector in the country's economy. Mr Soalaoi said his government would be pleased to work with the ITC in furthering the development of the tourism sector. Mr Soalaoi said the ITC can assist in building the capacities of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Solomon Islands to enable them to be competitive regionally and internationally.
The Executive Director reaffirmed the ability and willingness of the ITC to help Solomon Islands better leverage the existing tourism project to enhance backward and forward linkages, and specifically the role of women and youth. Suggested areas included the handicraft and fisheries sectors, food processing and horticulture.
'We are keen to support LDCs and Small Island Developing States to help them link up with the world community through trade,' said González. 'We have many examples of interventions which could be further developed for the Solomon Islands, such as our work with Myanmar to develop its national export strategy, and our Women and Trade project which would encourage the economic empowerment of women through income generation projects.'
Mr Soalaoi welcomed collaboration with ITC to increase trade development efforts in the Solomon Islands.
'The Solomon Islands, being small and vulnerable, has specific needs, and we face numerous challenges too,' said Mr Soalaoi. 'Our share of global trade is very small, so it is important for us to get support and assistance in improving our trade capacities.'