PRIME Minister Rick Houenipwela on Thursday has addressed a high-level Economic Forum between Pacific Island Leader’s and the Japanese companies in Tokyo.
The Prime Minister and Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama were the only two leaders’ that were invited to present an overview of Japanese assistance and investment in their respective countries.
When delivering his statement, Prime Minister Houenipwela embraced the opportunity to learn from Japan – describing Japan as one of the world’s renowned economic giants.
“Indeed Japan has a lot to offer in enhancing our economic development aspirations, more especially in boosting our efforts towards achieving our SDGs,” he said.
Speaking on the topic Solomon Islands-Japanese economic relations, the Prime Minister emphasised that whilst Japans economic relations with Solomon Islands may be small in terms of Japan’s own standards; Solomon Islands values its relations with Japan as not only very significant, but it has become multifaceted and has grown in respect of the diversity of their engagement.
“In recent years Japan has divested from large scale investments in fisheries, and simultaneously it has increased its investment in public sector infrastructure development in the transportation sectors such as Aviation, Maritime as well as in the Road Transportation,” Houenipwela said.
At the same time, the Prime Minister said Japan has also significantly increased its engagement over the years in social and economic areas including education, health, waste management, water and climate change mitigation.
“Indeed Japan plays a crucial role in the Solomon Islands economy. In recent years, Japanese grant assistance has boosted major and critical infrastructure projects in our country, such as the Honiara International Port upgrade, Honiara Urban water supply upgrade, and now the current work on Phase One of the Main Kukum Highway upgrade, to name a few,” he said.
The Prime Minister also informed the Forum of the current and new major projects under the Japanese programme.
These includes the; Current major road upgrading project being implemented by Kitano Construction Corporation; the recent MOU signing between Solomon Power with Hitachi Ltd in Tokyo for the supply and installation of a major sustainable Power Supply project in Solomon Islands; and also the recent signing between the Foreign Minister Milner Tozaka with his Japanese counterpart on the 2nd & 3rd Phases of the main Highway Upgrade, including the Honiara International Airport upgrade projects.
The Prime Minister’s speech has received overwhelming response from many Japanese companies that have shown great interest in investing in the Solomon Islands in the areas of health, renewable energy, agriculture and tourism.