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Solomon Islands Country Report

Country Risk Level


Overview

Executive Summary

Solomon Islands' patronage-based politics produces unstable coalitions, with changes of government occurring frequently through no-confidence motions. The country's main challenge is to adjust to the absence of foreign police personnel following the end of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI). There is a small risk of ethnic violence between the Guales from Guadalcanal Island and migrants from Malaita Island, as well as political protests in the capital, Honiara, and localised vandalism.Corruption, susceptibility to natural disasters such as earthquakes and flooding, and poor infrastructure are the chief operational risks in Solomon Islands. A lack of skilled labour continues to hamper the economy, and low levels of literacy and fluency in English pose difficulties for foreign investors.Logging exports are likely to decline, but increased external demand for commodities and elevated mining-related investment activity will keep the economy buoyant during 2019.

Operational Outlook

Corruption, the islands' susceptibility to natural disasters such as earthquakes and flooding, and poor infrastructure are the chief operational risks in Solomon Islands. A lack of skilled labour continues to hamper the economy, and low levels of literacy and fluency in English pose difficulties for foreign investors. Frequent changes of government also often mean a lack of long-term strategic planning, and there is consequently unlikely to be improvement in the operational environment.

Terrorism

There is no known terrorist threat in Solomon Islands. Small-arms and explosives are not as readily available as previously, limiting the capability of local militias and aspirants.

Crime

Crime is an increasing problem in urban areas, notably the capital, Honiara. Small-scale petty theft, muggings, house burglaries, and organised theft targeting businesses represent the main crime risks, which can become more frequent around major holidays. An international police support mission, led by Australia, has helped to build the capacity of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) in recent years. However, the international police mission concluded in mid-2017 and its departure will test the capacity of the domestic police force, which has limited resources. Incidents of violent crime, such as murder, are rare.

War Risks

There is a small risk of return to ethnic violence between Guales from Guadalcanal Island and migrants from Malaita island following the end of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) in June 2017. However, conflict is still unlikely over the next year, as RAMSI successfully restored peace and stability in the country. Australia is likely to intervene quickly in the event of serious civil unrest.

Social Stability

There is a small risk of occasional protests, which at worst escalate to include arson attacks in the capital, Honiara. In the past, these have been sparked by economic difficulties exacerbating social and ethnic divisions or dissatisfaction over a change of government. The departure of the international policing mission led by Australia will test local police capacity during future protests, particularly if these occur on Guadalcanal.

Risk Level
Critical High Medium Low Minimal