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Social Policies in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu

image of Social Policies in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu

SOCIAL POLICIES IN SMALL STATES SERIES



The country case studies and thematic papers in this series examine social policy issues facing small states and the implications for economic development. They show how, despite their inherent vulnerability, some small states have been successful in improving their social indicators because of the complementary social and economic policies they have implemented.



CASE STUDY – SOLOMON ISLANDS AND VANUATU



Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are two small states that have struggled to develop successful social policies since gaining independence. This final study in the series traces the history of social development in both countries, examining closely the factors that have hindered progress: the colonial legacy, poor economic development, high population growth, political instability, the lack of social cohesion, mismanagement of resources and natural disasters. The authors argue that for progress to continue both countries need to move away from a reliance on their traditional social structures and focus on political stability and economic growth.

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Postscript

Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, like many other small states, have been adversely affected by the global economic crisis. This has implications for the future prosperity of their peoples. Vanuatu’s economic growth in the period 2005–2009 was very impressive compared to that of other Pacific island states (Table 6.1). Growth was driven by increased aid amounting to about 6–7 per cent of GDP (Asian Development Bank, 2009). Vanuatu also benefited from funding from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which provided US$66 million for infrastructure development. The country maintained relative political stability and this contributed to consistent and transparent economic policies that were beneficial to investors.

English

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