EU, Solomon Islands Reach $11 Million Rural Development Agreement

Funding to ‘support agri-business and community development’

By Eddie Osifelo

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, June 23, 2016) – The Solomon Islands Government and the European Union have signed a $90 million [US$11 million] Financing Agreement in Honiara on Wednesday to continue the second phase of Rural Development programme.

Minister of Development Planning and Aid Coordination, Danny Philip and Leonidas Tezapsidis, EU Ambassador to Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have signed the agreement at the end of the 6th SI and EU Dailogue.

The funding is a top up on the $240 million [US$30 million] EU gave in the phase one of the project to support Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).

This has brought the total funding of $330 million [US$42 million] came about through the EU-Solomon Islands National Indicative Programme (NIP).

It’s a bilateral financial envelope from the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).

Tezapsidis said the new funding will support agri-business and community development activities in all 172 rural wards across the nine provinces.

“About 65,000 households, or 60% of Solomon Islands population, will benefit from the Programme,” he said.

Minister Philip said the Democratic Coalition for Change Government (DCCG) is committed to improving the livelihoods of the rural population and the signing of the Financial Agreement between the EU and SIG comes at the right time.

“I am pleased to say that this funding assistance will go a long way in improving the lives of our people by helping them to be self-reliant and to become prosperous,” he added.

RDP 11 started its activities in March 2015 and is a good example of collaboration between government and donors.

Solomon Islands Government contributes funding to RDP 11, joining hands with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) and the EU.

All partners have committed the equivalent of $330 million in grants and loans.

The World Bank is in charge of the overall management of the programme, with coordination and implementation of activities lying with the MDPAC and Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.

Eight other ministries and all the respective provincial government are key stakeholders in the implementation of the project.

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