On Wednesday 6 June the New Zealand Pacific Business Council hosted an event for members to meet the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands and hear of his plans for future prosperity; this event was held at the offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade in Auckland.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by Ministers from the Government of the Solomon Islands, the Solomon Islands High Commissioner to New Zealand –H.E. Joy Kere, the New Zealand High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands – Mr Don Higgins and Honorary Consul of the Solomon Islands – Mr Kayhan Khadem (also a member of the NZPBC Executive).
Following the formal welcome for the Prime Minister, Mr Devin Brown, Chair of the NZPBC, opened the function by discussing his fondness for the Solomon Islands garnered by building and upgrading electricity network infrastructure in Honiara, Auki, Gizo, Munda, Noro and Tulagi over several years. In addition, Mr Brown acknowledged the warm welcome they received from local business, the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and the Government of the Solomon Islands when the NZPBC ran their business mission in September 2017 to the Islands.
Prime Minister, Rick Houenipwela addressed 35 NZPBC members from a variety of sectors, which included consultants, renewable energy providers, legal firms and freight forwarders, either currently conducting business or looking at the possible opportunities in the Solomon Islands. Some of the key points made by the Prime Minister include:
- Upgrading and building of new roads, water and electricity systems to sustain and support a growing domestic and export market as well as future tourism development. These to be funded by international funders such as ADB and WB,
- Differentiating the Solomon’s from tourist hubs such as Fiji and Tahiti by focusing on the Eco Tourism market.
- The economy has grown 2.5% over the last year.
- The Solomon Islands is looking to hold the Pacific Games in 2023.
- The Government of Solomon Islands providing a stable platform for growth and prosperity is a key focus under his leadership.
- The country welcomes collaboration with New Zealand Companies and looks forward to areturn of the NZPBC Business Mission in future.The Prime Minister and other government delegates generously gave their time post the formal speeches, mingling and engaging with the NZPBC members to answer questions.NZPBC would like to thank MFAT for its support in setting up the opportunity for NZBC members to engage with the government of the Solomon Islands and providing the event venue.The Council looks forward to hosting another business mission to the Solomon Islands in the future.