BY LORETTA BRIGIDIA MANELE
INVESTING in Early Childhood Development (ECD) is the best chance for Solomon Islands to build its cognitive capital.
This is according to Ministry of Finance and Treasury’s Undersecretary, Norman Hiropuhi.
Hiropuhi said that a child born today will be playing a critical role for the development of Solomon Islands thus the country needs to invest on children to be able to tap into the demographic dividends in 2050 and beyond.
In the case of demographic dividends potential for Solomon Islands, he said 2100 projections have a greater share of the working-age population (15 to 64) than the non-working age group that is less than 14 years of age or more than 65.
Hiropuhi said demographic dividends are created through labour supply, savings, human capital and demand.
“This potential depends on the ability of the country to utilise its working population. The country needs to prepare its cognitive capital now,” he said.
Regarding conditions for demographic dividend, Hiropuhi stressed that there needs to be understanding on how this growing working population can be made productive and be efficiently used for economic growth and development.
Hence, he said building a formidable cognitive capital maybe the most viable option for Solomon Islands in preparation.
However, Hiropuhi pointed out that other areas are challenged such as industrialization and overdependence on natural resources.
He emphasised that industrialisation may not be a viable option due to power/energy issues and geographical isolation (access to markets) and overdependence on natural resources maybe too risky with climate change being a threat to these resources.
Hiropuhi stated that while 85 percent of a child’s core brain structure is formed by age 3, less than four percent of public investments in education and development reach children in their first few years.