DURING a speech at Taiwan’s National Day celebrations in Honiara yesterday, the ROC Ambassador, H.E. Roger Luo, told the audience that leading Taiwanese solar manufacturer, Speedtech, would be coming to the Honiara to set up a solar panel factory early next year.
For many years, through the local media, I have raised the prospect of such a venture by Taiwan.
In the industrial zone of Eastern Bangkok, the Taiwanese helped to set up and manage a huge switch gear factory that employs more than ten thousand local people working three 8 hour shifts every day.
I saw the benefits the factory created for local employment and lifestyle opportunities the workers enjoy and often wrote expressing the hope Taiwan would help the Solomon Islands in what I deemed to be practical and tangible aid.
I am really very pleased to learn that the Taiwanese Government, after a request from Prime Minister Sogavare during his recent visit to Taipei, agreed to the business investment idea.
I very much hope more Taiwanese companies will explore further such business opportunities for investment in the Solomon Islands and help create jobs and aid the economy.
Meanwhile, yesterday, in Vanuatu, the Asian Development Bank and Vanuatu signed an agreement for a $US15.1 million project to increase the availability of renewable energy on Malekula and Espiritu Santo.
RNZI reported that the ADB’s James Lynch said the project will deliver an increased supply of clean, renewable electricity to households in Malekula and Espiritu Santo and have a positive effect on rural livelihoods.
About 75 percent of Vanuatu’s population lives in rural areas and have limited access to electricity nationwide, with the electrification rate at just 33 percent.
Where electricity is available, it is mostly generated from diesel and other fossil fuels.