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Solomon Islands: Doing business & staying in touch

Doing Business in Solomon Islands

Shirt and smart trousers or skirt will suffice. English and French are widely spoken. The best time to visit is May to October.

Office Hours

Mon-Fri 0800-1200 and 1300-1630, Sat 0730-1200.

Economy

The economy depends on subsistence agriculture and fishing, which together employ about 90% of the population. The agricultural sector produces coconuts, sweet potatoes, cassava, fruit and vegetables; livestock rearing has grown steadily. Copra is still produced in commercial quantities, but low world prices have reduced the income from this commodity.

The Solomon Islands’ main industrial prospect lies in its mostly undeveloped mineral resources. Gold mining is now important and is set for further expansion; in addition, there are confirmed deposits of copper, lead, zinc, silver, cobalt and other ores. In the service sector, there is a small tourism industry which brings in around US$15 million annually, but this has been affected by the poor security situation.

GDP

US$358 million (2007).

Main exports

Timber, fish, palm oil, palm kernels, coconuts, cocoa and copra.

Main imports

Machinery, transport equipment and mineral fuels.

Main trading partners

Australia, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

Keeping in Touch in Solomon Islands

Telephone

There are no area codes. There are often technical problems with line connections.

Mobile Phone

Visitors can hire mobile phones on the islands; payment is preferred in cash (US/AUS/NZ currencies are accepted).

Internet

Public e-mail facilities are available in Gizo and Honiara.

Media

A high rate of illiteracy means that the radio has more influence than the press. An Australian-led mission to restore order had improved working conditions for local journalists and militia leaders who threatened the press were jailed. The Australian government donated equipment to the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) and has sponsored programmes to promote peace. Taiwan has also granted technical aid.