News 1 Oct 2017
New Zealand Pacific Business Council (NZPBC) Business Mission attendees were treated to three days of networking events, conference sessions, and site visits in the Solomon Islands capital of Honiara.
The visiting delegation (pictured) included representatives from Tradestaff Global, Fletcher Construction, Downer NZ, Prodesigners Architects, Beca, Infratec, TransNet NZ, Ricoh NZ and Ricoh South Pacific, along with the Solomon Islands Ambassador HE Joy Kere, Pacific Islands Trade and Invest and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE).
Manager Australia Pacific at NZTE and NZPBC’s Graeme Solloway says the group was well hosted by Tim Breese, Deputy High Commissioner in Honiara, on behalf of the NZ High Commissioner HE Don Higgins who was away.
The programme consisted of two days in Honiara of conference sessions in the morning and early afternoon, followed by a site visit late afternoon.
A reception was held at the High Commissioner’s residence on the evening prior to the first conference day, with attendance from the acting Solomon Islands Prime Minister and guests of government and business.
A dinner was also held with the members of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce, and a number of their executive either presented or sat in on conference sessions through both days.
The conference sessions covered a feast of topics about the potential for doing business in the Solomon Islands and issues and factors to consider, Graeme says.
“Sessions covered the Solomon Islands economy; current Solomon Islands Government priorities; investment attraction; ease of doing business in the Solomon Islands; private sector views of opportunities and challenges in the Solomon Islands; tourism development; and infrastructure development strategic plan of the Solomon Islands Government.
“Development agency priorities of Asia Development Bank, the World Bank, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) were also discussed, while presentations were provided from the Chief Executive Officers of Solomon Islands Power, Solomon Islands Water, Our Telekom and the Port Authority of the Solomon Islands on their business investment plans.”
An overview of the Tina River hydroelectricity project being funded by a consortium of development agencies took place and the delegation also went on two site visits to Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Limited, a major employer and exporter, being a subsidiary of Papua New Guineas’ New Britain Palm Oil Limited (one of PNG’s largest businesses), which in turn is owned by Sime Darby of Malaysia.
The other site visit was to the generating facilities of Solomon Power Limited – Luunga diesel power station and Henderson Field solar power station.
The focus of the mission was on infrastructure and we were very pleased with the engagement of the leaders of the power, water, ports and telecommunication SOEs, Graeme says.
“The Solomon Islands is a major recipient of donor funding in the Pacific region, much of which is delivered into programmes of capacity building in the public sector and in building infrastructure to connect islands and people, and to provide clean power and safe water to enhance economic and social development.”
While the Solomon Islands face considerable challenges creating a unified country with a shared sense of national identity, it is making progress coming out of dark times in the past, Graeme continues.
“Businesses need to be aware of the challenges, seek good advice – locally and from NZ firms that are active in the country.”
The mission provided a great opportunity for building valuable connections, gaining a deeper and broader understanding of the opportunities and challenges and for learning off each other’s experience.
Visit NZPBC for more information.