COUNTRYAAH, the economy of the Solomon Islands is partly based on
commercial exploitation of the country's natural resources,
which is largely controlled by enterprises established in
other countries, and utilization of the resources for
self-sufficiency. The transition from natural housekeeping
to modern monetary economics is slow. Agriculture (including
forestry and fishing) contributed in 2003 with approx. 48%
of gross domestic product (GDP).
Despite white sandy beaches and other inviting nature,
tourism is modest. Violent unrest has frightened many
tourists. The number of visitors dropped from over 25,000 in
1998 to just 1718 in 2003. Following the Australian
intervention, the number rose to close to 10,000 in 2004.
Diving at the coral reefs is popular. The island nation has
few tourist facilities.
Agriculture, forestry and fishing
About. 75% of the working population was employed wholly
or partly in agriculture. Most are grown on small farms, but
there are also plantation operations, with the cultivation
of palm trees (for the production of palm oil and copra),
cocoa and rice. Also some production of spices and honey for
export. For their own and local consumption, especially
sweet potatoes, taro, yams and various vegetables and fruits
are grown. Pigs and cattle are especially kept from
About. 2/3 of the land area has
been covered by tropical rainforest, but an explosive
increase in harvesting since the 1980s, partly also rovhugst,
has gradually reduced the forest area. A number of agencies,
including the World Bank, have warned that the high felling
will lead to rapid deforestation of the islands. Australia
and the EU reduced their assistance to the country because
of this. In 1998, some restrictions were imposed on the
harvest, but this led to a state financial crisis. The
environmental and economic consequences of the harvest have
also been a political issue since the turn of the
millennium. A number of violent confrontations between
locals and foreign carpenters have been reported. In 2004,
prey on several islands in the western region attracted
international attention. The islands became almost scarred
in a few weeks by carpentry companies who took care of
themselves. This led to new accusations against politicians
for bribery and corruption. After Solomon Mamaloni's three
governments in the 1990s gave the companies freer rein, it
was tightened somewhat under Prime Minister Allan Kemakeza's
Offshore, considerable fishing is conducted, including
tuna. A significant part of the catch is exported frozen to
Japan, Fiji and Thailand, where it is further processed.
Occasionally, the commercial catch has ruined the conditions
for local fishermen fishing for their own consumption and
the local market. Some production of seaweed.
Mining and industry
The nation's gold mine in Gold Rigde came into production
in 1991. It is operated somewhat recovery of gold. It is a
problem that large amounts of gold are smuggled out of the
country annually. Unused deposits of bauxite, phosphate,
copper, lead, zinc, silver, cobalt and nickel. Energy is
mainly produced from hydropower.
Industry (including mining) employed 13.7% of the working
population in 1993 and contributed 13.3% of GDP (1996). The
industry is essentially based on the processing of raw
materials from agriculture and fisheries, including canning
and freezing of fish, sawmill and furniture industry.
Otherwise, boatbuilding, clothing and crafts are being run.
Shells jewelry is made for tourist purposes and for export.
Timber has long been the main export commodity; in 2003
amounted to tropical timber 2/3 of
total exports. Most were still exported as untreated round
timber. Fish is the second largest export item. War and
unrest around the turn of the millennium hit the export
sector hard, especially by palm oil. Traditionally, copra
has been an important export item, but in recent years has
lost its importance. However, more and more cocoa is
exported. The main import goods are machinery, finished
goods, foodstuffs and fuels. Most of the imports come from
Australia, Japan and Singapore. Exports go to Japan, China,
South Korea and the Philippines.
Transport and Communications
The Solomon Islands have no rail, and the road network is
poor. Between the islands, the inhabitants usually paddle in
canoes, while goods transport is carried by hundreds of
larger vessels to important ports such as Honiara, Yandina
and Noro. Regular boat connections exist to several
countries in the region, as well as Asia and Europe. The
main ports are Honiara, Yandina, Noro and Gizo. From two
international airports, flights go to Australia, Papua New
Guinea and Fiji. Solomon Airlines operates approx. 25
smaller places in the eye nation.