BY BEN BILUA
STRIKING a balance on how to encourage equitable economic growth is paramount in the Pacific says the World Bank’s Lead Economist and Program Leader in the East Asia and Pacific Region.
Dr David Gould said there are five principles that would help local governments achieve more equitable growth.
The first principle is understanding the economic geography. He said policy solutions need to be grounded in each country’s unique economic geography.
The second principle is to make sure interactions between outer islands and the main islands are taken into account.
“Outer islands development should consider interactions with the country’s main island as well as the global economy. So what is the economy’s comparative advantage? These are all issues that will determine what can be developed in outer islands and what should be a main island investment,” Gould said.
The third principle is a balanced approach to investments in urban areas for migration. This is something that would help mitigate some of the problems with the migration to the urban areas on main islands.
“So it’s a balanced approach that combines investments for migration with focused support for outer islands,” Gould said
“I think that you need to have access to a certain level of health and education on the outer islands regardless of how much you decide to invest in the main island to achieve the best outcomes,” he explained.
The fourth principle is balanced opportunity in investment and service delivery. Contrary to expectation this may not mean the same investment on all islands.
“It’s not a matter of dollars and cents being distributed equally but where are the smart investments taking place.
Gould said, the fifth and final principle is prioritizing investment in People.
“With limited scope to close the gap between outer islands and main islands, investments that promote livelihoods and human development should be given preference because human capital is mobile.
“It stays with the individual no matter where they are in the country or outside,” he said.
Island Sun understands that Solomon Islands is made up of scattered islands and these principles are key to diversifying development and getting the best value from investment opportunities for the most isolated communities.