EU RELEASES $13 MILLION FOR SOLOMONS DEVELOPMENT

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By Moffat Mamu

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, July 14) – The Solomon Islands yesterday signed agreements that will bring SB$96 million (US$13 million) in European Union funding for development programs.

EU Charge d’Affaires Henry Prankerd said the funds would be released to help the Solomons stabilise its export earnings and alleviate rural poverty.

"The tension that paralysed this country some years ago meant that it became impossible to implement development programmes and the funds were put on hold," he said. "But with the improved law and order and good governance established with the help of RAMSI [Regional Assistance Mission Solomon Islands], it has given new confidence to donors and investors alike and because of peace, Solomon Islands government priorities have changed and shifted towards development."

He added that these projects would only succeed if the Ministry of Planning is strong in its capacity to carry out its mandate both in planning and in aid coordination.

Solomon Islands Minister of Planning Fred Fono said yesterday’s ceremony was a milestone in the country’s effort since 2003 to access funds from the EU.

"The revitalisation of the private sector is and will remain a high priority area for the government," he said.

The funding is earmarked for the following programs:

July 15, 2005

Solomon Star: http://www.solomonstarnews.com/

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