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Investment in infrastructure and human capital and properly coordinating resources can help further strengthen growth in Solomon Islands which is forecast to rebound positively from the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, according to a new report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The new Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2021, ADB’s flagship annual economic report, notes that gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the Pacific nation contracted by 4.5% in 2020, as logging and fishing output fell and construction of major projects stalled. But the economy is expected to recover, growing by 1.0% in 2021 and by 4.5% in 2022. However, while fishing recovers and construction resumes, the country’s fiscal conditions remain tight.
“Creating job opportunities outside the main urban areas through improved agricultural productivity will be key to stimulating economic growth during the COVID-19 recovery phase,” said ADB’s Solomon Islands Country Office Unit Head Elmar Elbling. “Higher investments in transport and communications are also needed. However, the real impact and benefits to people will depend on fiscal strengthening, budget prioritisation, and enhancing implementation capacity.”
The report notes growth in construction and related business is expected to benefit from infrastructure projects, notably the Tina River Hydropower Project, upgrades to roads and shipping facilities, the rehabilitation and expansion of water supply and sanitation systems, and construction for the 2023 Pacific Games.
The fish catch will likely rebound in 2021 and 2022, but logging output is expected to fall further to 1.8 million cubic meters, reflecting government efforts to improve sustainability.
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