Fini’s government welcomes Chinese investors to develop Bina Harbour


The Malaita New Government for Fundamental Redirection (MNGFR) has expressed its welcome to any Chinese investor willing to develop the Bina Harbour project in West Kwaio.

The project involves the expansion of the port to international standards and the development of tuna fisheries.

According to an article published by The Sunday Guardian on July 9, 2023, the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Hon. Nestor Ghiro, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Chairman of the China National Fisheries Corporation (CNFC) in Beijing in May of the same year.

The signing of the MOU reportedly opened the door for the China Engineering and Construction Company and China Harbour Engineering Company to seek financing for the project, estimated to cost US$180 million.

The article’s author, Dean Baxendale, suggests that there may be additional implications to China’s involvement in the Bina Harbour project.

Baxendale points out that Bina Harbour is one of the few natural deep water ports in Malaita and highlights Malaita’s strategic location in the archipelago, implying that it could serve as a docking location for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) navy vessels, potentially countering the American security pact with Papua New Guinea.

However, it should be noted that these geopolitical implications mentioned by Baxendale are speculative and not confirmed by official sources.

Prior to the MOU signing with China, the New Zealand Government, through Mekem Strong Solomon Islands Fisheries (MSSIF), was already providing long-term technical assistance and funding support for the Bina Harbour project.

A project office was established, managed by Johnstaff International Development (JID), which is funded by the New Zealand Government.

The Bina Region Arrangement for Governance (BRAG) within the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources is supported by the New Zealand Government to safeguard the interests of the Bina and Langa Langa communities that have rights over the land, water sources, and the harbour required for the project.

It is worth noting that the press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade regarding the MOU signing did not specifically mention any Chinese investment in Bina Harbour.

The press release states that the MOU enables CNFC to invest in the Solomon Islands in areas of mutual interest.

Minister Ghiro emphasized that the purpose of the MOU is to strengthen the fisheries cooperation between the Solomon Islands and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and promote tangible entrepreneurial developments in the country.

Malaita Premier Martin Fini expressed his support for China’s involvement in developing Bina Harbour, stating that if the MOU allows China to undertake the project, he welcomes it.

Premier Fini emphasized that Malaita has not witnessed significant development in major projects like Bina Harbour and Suava Bay for the past 45 years from what he refers to as “Western countries.”

He believes that if China is willing to contribute to the tangible development of these projects, it aligns with the desires of the people of Malaita.

Premier Fini visited Beijing in May to present his government’s policies on fisheries, tourism, agriculture, and education, aiming to prioritize tangible development over ongoing debates on social media regarding Western geopolitics.

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