Japan steps in with $29m funding

From (L-R) - Solomon Power CEO Donald Kiriau, Minister Manele, Ambassador Yasuhiro, Director of Mines and Permanent Secretary Collin Beck
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THE Government of Japan continues to lend its helping hand to Solomon Islands regardless of the negative impacts of covid-19 on both countries.

The latest of this is a Grant Aid of $29 million support to the country’s Energy and Mineral sector, which comes under the Japanese Economic and Social Development Programme.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Jeremiah Manele and Japanese Ambassador, Morimoto Yasuhiro signed the Exchange of Notes to formalise the assistance in Honiara yesterday.

The assistance will go towards the installation of Solar Street Lights and a Geology Laboratory following a request by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to his Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga during a bilateral meeting at the margins of the 9th Pacific Leaders Meeting held virtually last month. 

“On behalf of the Government and people of Solomon Islands, allow me to convey to your Government and the good people of Japan, our sincerest gratitude and deep appreciation for your government’s continuous support to promoting economic, social and infrastructural developments in the Solomon Islands,” Minister Manele said.

Japanese Ambassador, Morimoto Yasuhiro believed the assistance will improve the Geological Survey Department’s capacity to support the government’s initiatives, including mineral and geological exploration for supporting economic development as well as mitigating disaster risk.

In addition, he said the provision of solar street lights under this assistance by Solomon Power will improve the livelihood of Honiara residents by providing a secure and safe environment at night.

The Solar Street Lights component will complement the support provided by Japan for the Kukum High Way Phase 2 project as well combating climate change.

This grant aid will be used to purchase 110 solar powered street lights which will be installed by Solomon Power.

For the geological laboratory, the support will be used to purchase laboratory equipment to analyze rock, soil, and water, gas and oil samples.

The geological laboratory will be managed by the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification.

In addition, the support includes, the purchase of a new vehicle (4WD) to support the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification to carry out necessary field surveys and other related works. 

The two projects supported by the Government of Japan are important for Solomon Islands.

For instance, the infrastructural initiative by the Ministry of Mines and Energy for the installation of Street Solar Lights, will improve the country’s energy efficiency and conservation as it prepares to host the Pacific Games in 2023.

Such green initiative will also minimize the use of diesel fuel for street lightings and provide lighting for feeder roads in the suburbs around Honiara City.

For the geological laboratory, this will support the government’s testing capability and capacity to determine soil and rock types and as well identify mineral resources. 

The Projects are aligned to the Solomon Islands Government National Development Strategy that focuses on key sectors of improving the social and economic livelihood of all Solomon Islanders, with improved service delivery for the country. 

The signing of the Exchange of Notes today is another milestone in the cordial bilateral relations between the two countries.

The Exchange of Note signing is the third for Solomon Islands under the Grant Aid for Economic and Social Development Programme which started in 2018 with the first assistance to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and in 2020 to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.