High population growth rate challenges country

Economic Association of Solomon Islands President, Reuben Tovutovu
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ECONOMIC Association of Solomon Islands (EASI) says one of the challenges confronting the country is the high population growth rate.

The recent national census confirmed the country’s population has reached more than 700,000.

EASI President, Reuben Tovutovu said this in response to Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Solomon Islands flagship report, the 2021 ADO Report, that unprecedented times demands unprecedented but workable policies.

Tovutovu said currently Solomon Islands has the highest rate in the region with 2.7 percent annually.

He said translated into classrooms, this is equivalent to 1.5 classrooms per day, or 548 classrooms per year.

“However, although the twin challenges of high population growth and urbanisation can create a myriad of socio-economic challenges, they can also be catalysts for growth and innovation, for example as sources of markets for local produce,” he said.

Furthermore, Tovutovu said with the launch of the undersea cable in early 2020 resulting in low costs of data, digital platforms for doing business, especially connecting rural producers to urban markets should be promoted.

He said this will not only indirectly stimulate increased local food production but also ensure food security in the short to medium term.