26 July 2017
Australian Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment
the Hon Keith Pitt MP
Visit to Solomon Islands 24-26 July
Australia’s Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon Keith Pitt MP,
visited Honiara to attend the 9th Australia Solomon Islands Business Forum. While he was here,
Assistant Minister Pitt also met with Solomon Islands and Australian business people and
visited several agricultural producers that are contributing to the growing trade and investment
partnership between Australia and Solomon Islands.
During his keynote address to the Business Forum, Assistant Minister Pitt launched the new
Australian Government initiative Strongim Bisnis. This three-year, AUD 14 million investment
will work with the private sector to support growth in selected markets, initially cocoa, coconut
and tourism. These sectors reflect the Solomon Islands Government’s priorities and have the
potential to penetrate international markets and promote inclusive growth in Solomon Islands.
Strongim Bisnis will support the private sector to strengthen business practice, market
development, risk management, resilience and women’s participation in the economy.
While in Honiara, Assistant Minister Pitt visited the Kebu cocoa farm and Kokonut Pacific to
see first-hand the importance of the agricultural sector to the Solomon Islands economy,
supported by the Pacific Horticulture and Agriculture Market Access (PHAMA) program.
To further promote greater access to international markets for Solomon Islands exports,
Assistant Minister Pitt also launched a second phase of Australia’s Biosecurity Development
Program in Solomon Islands. Under this three-year, AUD 750,000 program, the Australian
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and Solomon Islands Ministry of Agriculture
and Livestock will work together to assist Solomon Islanders to meet the biosecurity
requirements of export markets.
Biosecurity management is also important for Solomon Islands’ tourism sector. With an
increasing number of international cruise ships visiting Honiara and Gizo, Assistant Minister
Pitt launched a new Solomon Islands Handicraft Video and Vendor Guide that will be shown
and distributed on Carnival Cruise ships visiting Honiara. Produced by the PHAMA program,
this Video and Vendor Guide will assist Solomon Islands’ market vendors, particularly women,
by promoting local handicrafts.
Assistant Minister Pitt also promoted women’s economic empowerment at the Waka Mere
Commitment to Action launch. With Australian and International Finance Corporation support,
16 local companies made public commitments to advance gender reform in Solomon Islands.
In promoting Australia’s commitment to developing Solomon Islanders skills through
Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET), Assistant Minister Pitt visited the Australia-
Pacific Technical College (APTC) campus in Honiara. Since 2008, with Australian support,
APTC has trained over 1,130 Solomon Islanders in Australian-Quality technical and vocational
skills. More than 95 per cent of APTC’s graduates across the region are in employment.
Australia and Solomon Islands have a trade and investment partnership valued at over
AUD 630 million in 2016.