Photos of Solomon Islands

Introduction

Background

Settlers from Papua arrived on Solomon Islands around 30,000 years ago. About 6,000 years ago, Austronesian settlers came to Solomon Islands and the two groups mixed extensively. Despite significant inter-island trade, no attempts were made to unite the islands into a single political entity. In 1568, Spanish explorer Alvaro de MENDANA became the first European to spot the islands. After a failed Spanish attempt at creating a permanent European settlement on the islands in the late 1500s, Solomon Islands remained free of European contact until 1767 when British explorer Philip CARTERET sailed by the islands. The islands were regularly visited by European explorers and American and British whaling ships into the 1800s, followed by missionaries in the 1840s-50s.

Germany declared a protectorate over the northern Solomon Islands in 1885, and the UK established a protectorate over the southern islands in 1893. In 1899, Germany transferred its Solomon Islands to the UK in exchange for the UK relinquishing all claims in Samoa. The UK tried to encourage plantation farming, but few Europeans were willing to go to Solomon Islands and the UK left most services - such as education and medical services - to missionaries. In 1942, Japan invaded Solomon Islands and significant battles against Allied forces during the Guadalcanal Campaign proved a turning point in the Pacific war. World War II destroyed large parts of Solomon Islands and a nationalism movement emerged near the end of the war. By 1960, the British relented to allow for some local autonomy. The islands were granted self-government in 1976 and independence two years later under Prime Minister Sir Peter KENILOREA.

In 1999, longstanding ethnic tensions between ethnic Guale in Honiara and ethnic Malaitans in Honiara’s suburbs erupted in civil war, leading thousands of Malaitans to take refuge in Honiara and Guale to flee the city. In 2000, newly-elected Prime Minister Manasseh SOGAVARE focused on peace agreements and distributing resources equally among groups, but his actions bankrupted the government in 2001 and led to SOGAVARE’s ouster. In 2003, Solomon Islands requested international assistance to reestablish law and order. The Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands, which ended in 2017, was generally effective in improving the security situation. In 2006, riots broke out in Honiara and the city’s Chinatown burned over allegations that the prime minister took money from China. SOGAVARE was reelected prime minister for a fourth time following elections in 2019 and that same year announced Solomon Islands would switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China. When a small group of protestors, mostly from the island of Malaita, approached parliament to lodge a petition calling for SOGAVARE’s removal and more development in Malaita in November 2021, police fired tear gas into the crowd which sparked rioting and looting in Honiara. 

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Papua New Guinea

Geographic coordinates

8 00 S, 159 00 E

Area

total: 28,896 sq km

land: 27,986 sq km

water: 910 sq km

comparison ranking: total 143

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Maryland

Land boundaries

total: 0 km

Coastline

5,313 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm

measured from claimed archipelagic baselines

Climate

tropical monsoon; few temperature and weather extremes

Terrain

mostly rugged mountains with some low coral atolls

Elevation

highest point: Mount Popomanaseu 2,335 m

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

Natural resources

fish, forests, gold, bauxite, phosphates, lead, zinc, nickel

Land use

agricultural land: 3.9% (2018 est.)

arable land: 0.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 2.9% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0.3% (2018 est.)

forest: 78.9% (2018 est.)

other: 17.2% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km (2022)

Population distribution

most of the population lives along the coastal regions; about one in five live in urban areas, and of these some two-thirds reside in Honiara, the largest town and chief port

Natural hazards

tropical cyclones, but rarely destructive; geologically active region with frequent earthquakes, tremors, and volcanic activity; tsunamis

volcanism: Tinakula (851 m) has frequent eruption activity, while an eruption of Savo (485 m) could affect the capital Honiara on nearby Guadalcanal

Geography - note

strategic location on sea routes between the South Pacific Ocean, the Solomon Sea, and the Coral Sea; Rennell Island, the southernmost in the Solomon Islands chain, is one of the world’s largest raised coral atolls; the island’s Lake Tegano, formerly a lagoon on the atoll, is the largest lake in the insular Pacific (15,500 hectares)

People and Society

Population

714,766 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 167

Nationality

noun: Solomon Islander(s)

adjective: Solomon Islander

Ethnic groups

Melanesian 95.3%, Polynesian 3.1%, Micronesian 1.2%, other 0.3% (2009 est.)

Languages

Melanesian pidgin (in much of the country is lingua franca), English (official but spoken by only 1%-2% of the population), 120 indigenous languages

Religions

Protestant 73.4% (Church of Melanesia 31.9%, South Sea Evangelical 17.1%, Seventh Day Adventist 11.7%, United Church 10.1%, Christian Fellowship Church 2.5%), Roman Catholic 19.6%, other Christian 2.9%, other 4%, unspecified 0.1% (2009 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 31.06% (male 114,104/female 107,900)

15-64 years: 63.82% (male 233,501/female 222,640)

65 years and over: 5.12% (2023 est.) (male 17,238/female 19,383)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 74.8

youth dependency ratio: 68.8

elderly dependency ratio: 6

potential support ratio: 16.5 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 24.8 years (2023 est.)

male: 24.6 years

female: 25 years

comparison ranking: total 169

Population growth rate

1.69% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 55

Birth rate

22.3 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 53

Death rate

4 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 215

Net migration rate

-1.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 159

Population distribution

most of the population lives along the coastal regions; about one in five live in urban areas, and of these some two-thirds reside in Honiara, the largest town and chief port

Urbanization

urban population: 26% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 3.57% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

82,000 HONIARA (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female

total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

22.6 years (2015 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 25-29

Maternal mortality ratio

122 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 64

Infant mortality rate

total: 19.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 23.3 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 15.6 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 79

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 77 years (2023 est.)

male: 74.3 years

female: 79.7 years

comparison ranking: total population 94

Total fertility rate

2.82 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 56

Gross reproduction rate

1.38 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 95% of population

rural: 65.9% of population

total: 73.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 5% of population

rural: 34.1% of population

total: 26.9% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

4.4% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

0.19 physicians/1,000 population (2016)

Hospital bed density

1.4 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 95.6% of population

rural: 22.6% of population

total: 40.6% of population

unimproved: urban: 4.4% of population

rural: 77.4% of population

total: 59.4% of population (2020 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

22.5% (2016)

comparison ranking: 75

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 1.19 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 1.1 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.06 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.02 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 146

Tobacco use

total: 36.5% (2020 est.)

male: 53.8% (2020 est.)

female: 19.2% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 12

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

16.2% (2015)

comparison ranking: 32

Education expenditures

12.8% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 2

Literacy

total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

Environment

Environment - current issues

deforestation; soil erosion; many of the surrounding coral reefs are dead or dying, exhibiting the effects of climate change and rising sea levels

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban

Climate

tropical monsoon; few temperature and weather extremes

Land use

agricultural land: 3.9% (2018 est.)

arable land: 0.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 2.9% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0.3% (2018 est.)

forest: 78.9% (2018 est.)

other: 17.2% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 26% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 3.57% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

20.27% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 1

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 150

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 7.83 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 0.17 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 0.43 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 179,972 tons (2013 est.)

Total renewable water resources

44.7 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Solomon Islands

local long form: none

local short form: Solomon Islands

former: British Solomon Islands

etymology: Spanish explorer Alvaro de MENDANA named the isles in 1568 after the wealthy biblical King SOLOMON in the mistaken belief that the islands contained great riches

Government type

parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm

Capital

name: Honiara

geographic coordinates: 9 26 S, 159 57 E

time difference: UTC+11 (16 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the name derives from "nagho ni ara," which in one of the Guadalcanal languages roughly translates as "facing the eastern wind"

Administrative divisions

9 provinces and 1 city*; Central, Choiseul, Guadalcanal, Honiara*, Isabel, Makira and Ulawa, Malaita, Rennell and Bellona, Temotu, Western

Independence

7 July 1978 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 7 July (1978)

Constitution

history: adopted 31 May 1978, effective 7 July 1978; note - in late 2017, provincial leaders agreed to adopt a new federal constitution; progress has been stalled, but as of February 2023, the draft constitution was with the Constitutional Review Unit in the prime minister's office 

amendments: proposed by the National Parliament; passage of constitutional sections, including those on fundamental rights and freedoms, the legal system, Parliament, alteration of the constitution and the ombudsman, requires three-fourths majority vote by Parliament and assent of the governor general; passage of other amendments requires two-thirds majority vote and assent of the governor general; amended several times, last in 2018

Legal system

mixed legal system of English common law and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the Solomon Islands

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years

Suffrage

21 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: King CHARLES III (since 8 September 2022); represented by Governor General David VUNAGI (since 8 July 2019)

head of government: Prime Minister Manasseh SOGAVARE (since 24 April 2019)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the advice of the National Parliament for up to 5 years (eligible for a second term); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually elected prime minister by the National Parliament; deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister from among members of the National Parliament

election results: Manasseh SOGAVARE (OUR Party) elected prime minister on 24 April 2019

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Parliament (50 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 3 April 2019 (next originally scheduled for April 2023 but delayed until 17 April 2024)

election results: percent of vote by party - UDP 10.7%, DAP 7.8%, PAP 4.4%, independent 56.3%, other 20.8%; seats by party - DAP 7, UDP 5, PAP 3, KPSI 1, SIPFP 1, SIPRA 1, independent 32; composition - men 46, women 4, percent of women 8%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and ex officio members including the High Court chief justice and its puisne judges); High Court (consists of the chief justice and puisne judges, as prescribed by the National Parliament)

judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal and High Court president, chief justices, and puisne judges appointed by the governor general upon recommendation of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, chaired by the chief justice and includes 5 members, mostly judicial officials and legal professionals; all judges serve until retirement at age 60

subordinate courts: Magistrates' Courts; Customary Land Appeal Court; local courts

Political parties and leaders

Democratic Alliance Party or DAP [Steve ABANA]
Kadere Party of Solomon Islands or KPSI [Peter BOYERS]
Ownership, Unity, and Responsibility Party (OUR Party) [Manasseh SOGAVARE]
People's Alliance Party or PAP [Sir Nathaniel WAENA]
Solomon Islands Party for Rural Advancement or SIPRA [Manasseh MAELANGA]
Solomon Islands People First Party or SIPFP [Dr. Jimmie RODGERS]
United Democratic Party or UDP [Sir Thomas Ko CHAN]

note: in general, Solomon Islands politics is characterized by fluid coalitions

International organization participation

ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, EITI (candidate country), ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IOC, ITU, MIGA, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Jane Mugafalu Kabui WAETARA (since 16 September 2022)

chancery: 685 Third Avenue, 11th Floor, Suite 1102, New York, NY 10017

telephone: [1] (212) 599-6192

FAX: [1] (212) 661-8925

email address and website:
simun@solomons.com

Diplomatic representation from the US

embassy: the US does not have an embassy in the Solomon Islands; the US Ambassador to Papua New Guinea is accredited to the Solomon Islands

Flag description

divided diagonally by a thin yellow stripe from the lower hoist-side corner; the upper triangle (hoist side) is blue with five white five-pointed stars arranged in an X pattern; the lower triangle is green; blue represents the ocean, green the land, and yellow sunshine; the five stars stand for the five main island groups of the Solomon Islands

National symbol(s)

national colors: blue, yellow, green, white

National anthem

name: "God Save Our Solomon Islands"

lyrics/music: Panapasa BALEKANA and Matila BALEKANA/Panapasa BALEKANA

note: adopted 1978

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 1 (natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: East Rennell

Economy

Economic overview

lower middle-income Pacific island economy; natural resource rich but environmentally fragile; key agrarian sector; growing Chinese economic relationship; infrastructure damage due to social unrest; metal mining operations

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1.628 billion (2022 est.)
$1.697 billion (2021 est.)
$1.707 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 202

Real GDP growth rate

-4.06% (2022 est.)
-0.57% (2021 est.)
-3.38% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 207

Real GDP per capita

$2,200 (2022 est.)
$2,400 (2021 est.)
$2,500 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 204

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.597 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

5.52% (2022 est.)
-0.12% (2021 est.)
2.96% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 84

Credit ratings

Moody's rating: B3 (2015)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 34.3% (2017 est.)

industry: 7.6% (2017 est.)

services: 58.1% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 136; industry 212; agriculture 14

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: NA

government consumption: NA

investment in fixed capital: NA

investment in inventories: NA

exports of goods and services: 25.8% (2011 est.)

imports of goods and services: -49.6% (2011 est.)

Agricultural products

oil palm fruit, sweet potatoes, coconuts, taro, yams, fruit, pulses, vegetables, cocoa, cassava

Industries

fish (tuna), mining, timber

Industrial production growth rate

-3.84% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 197

Labor force

372,000 (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 165

Unemployment rate

1.61% (2022 est.)
0.94% (2021 est.)
0.89% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 16

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 1.9% (2021 est.)

male: 1.6%

female: 2.3%

comparison ranking: total 200

Remittances

5.08% of GDP (2022 est.)
3.23% of GDP (2021 est.)
1.79% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Budget

revenues: $514 million (2019 est.)

expenditures: $537 million (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-2.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 127

Public debt

11.46% of GDP (2020 est.)
7.74% of GDP (2019 est.)
7.69% of GDP (2018 est.)

note: central government debt as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 197

Taxes and other revenues

20.67% (of GDP) (2021 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 80

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$218.534 million (2022 est.)
-$78.192 million (2021 est.)
-$25.06 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 97

Exports

$411.359 million (2022 est.)
$413.657 million (2021 est.)
$428.834 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 193

Exports - partners

China 59%, Italy 9%, India 6%, Netherlands 4%, Australia 3% (2021)

Exports - commodities

lumber, tuna, palm oil, coconut oil, gold (2021)

Imports

$764.641 million (2022 est.)
$619.46 million (2021 est.)
$556.26 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 196

Imports - partners

China 36%, Singapore 13%, Australia 12%, Malaysia 10%, New Zealand 6% (2021)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, scrap iron, fish, iron structures, poultry meats, rice (2021)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$661.604 million (2022 est.)
$694.515 million (2021 est.)
$660.996 million (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 159

Debt - external

$757 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$643 million (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 172

Exchange rates

Solomon Islands dollars (SBD) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
8.156 (2022 est.)
8.03 (2021 est.)
8.213 (2020 est.)
8.173 (2019 est.)
7.953 (2018 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 76.3% (2021)

electrification - urban areas: 79.2% (2021)

electrification - rural areas: 75.3% (2021)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 40,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 93.527 million kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 14 million kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: imports 146; exports 133; installed generating capacity 196; transmission/distribution losses 24; consumption 196

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 94.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 2.7% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 2.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 2,200 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 199

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 137

Refined petroleum products - imports

1,577 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 194

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

333,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 333,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 194

Energy consumption per capita

6.955 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 165

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 7,000 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: (2021 est.) less than 1

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 196

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 474,000 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 67 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 175

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: mobile services have continually expanded in the Solomon Islands; 3G services became available in 2010, leading to an increase in mobile broadband uptake; Solomon Islands currently host three ISPs; fixed broadband services are largely limited to government, corporations, and educational organizations in the Solomon Islands; telecommunication infrastructure in the Solomon Islands requires significant investment due to the geographical make-up of the islands; this presents a great challenge to rural connectivity in the country; although various international organizations such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have taken a special interest in having communication services improved in both the Solomon Islands and the Pacific region in general, internet and broadband penetration remain low; the provision of broadband infrastructure, particularly to rural areas, is also hindered by land disputes; internet services have, improved with the build-out of the Coral Sea Cable System linking Papua New Guinea to the Solomon Islands, as also with a connecting cable to a landing station at Sydney; the Australian government provided most of the funding for the Coral Sea Cable System, with contributions and support from the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea governments; the launch of the Kacific-1 satellite in late 2019 also improved broadband satellite capacity for the region, though for telcos in Solomon Islands satellite services are now largely used as backup for international traffic; in recent years, the country has stabilized both politically and economically and this, along with improvements to mobile infrastructure, has led to a rise in mobile services and the slow uptake of broadband services; while the first LTE services were launched in late 2017 in the capital Honiara, the main platform for mobile voice and data services remains 3G, while in outlying areas GSM is still an important technology for the provision of services (2022)

domestic: fixed-line is less than 1 per 100 persons and mobile-cellular telephone density 67 per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 677; landing points for the CSCS and ICNS2 submarine cables providing connectivity from Solomon Islands, to PNG, Vanuatu and Australia; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2019)

Broadcast media

Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) does not broadcast television; multi-channel pay-TV is available; SIBC operates 2 national radio stations and 2 provincial stations; there are 2 local commercial radio stations; Radio Australia is available via satellite feed (since 2009) (2019)

Internet users

total: 255,600 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 36% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 175

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 1,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 0.2 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 206

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 6

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 427,806 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 3.84 million (2018) mt-km

Airports

35 (2024)

comparison ranking: 111

Heliports

1 (2024)

Roadways

total: 1,390 km

paved: 34 km

unpaved: 1,356 km (2011)

note: includes 920 km of private plantation roads

comparison ranking: total 177

Merchant marine

total: 25 (2023)

by type: general cargo 8, oil tanker 1, other 16

comparison ranking: total 142

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Honiara, Malloco Bay, Viru Harbor, Tulagi

Military and Security

Military and security forces

no regular military forces; the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) is responsible for internal and external security and reports to the Ministry of Police, National Security, and Correctional Services (2024)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

China and Australia have provided equipment to the Police Force; the maritime branch operates patrol boats provided by Australia (2023)

Military - note

from 2003 to 2017, at the request of the Solomon Islands Governor-General, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), consisting of police, military, and civilian advisors drawn from 15 countries, assisted in reestablishing and maintaining civil and political order while reinforcing regional stability and security; since November 2021, the Australian-led Solomon Islands Assistance Force (SIAF) has supported the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) to maintain stability; the SIAF includes police and military from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea; the Solomon Islands Government has also signed police and security agreements with China and a small Chinese police liaison team is embedded with the RSIPF (2024)

Transnational Issues

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List — Solomon Islands does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so; these efforts included developing a communication and implementation strategy for its National Action Plan and raising awareness of trafficking; however, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts, compared with the previous reporting period, to expand its anti-trafficking capacity; authorities did not identify or assist victims, and protection services remained inadequate; officials did not initiate any trafficking investigations or prosecutions and, for the third consecutive year, did not convict any traffickers; the government did not conduct anti-trafficking training for its police or judicial officials who lack an understanding of trafficking; for the fourth consecutive year, authorities did not conduct systematic monitoring and inspection activities at logging sites or in the fishing or mining sectors, despite clear indicators of trafficking; therefore, Solomon Islands was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List (2023)

trafficking profile: human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Solomon Islands, and traffickers exploit Solomon Islanders abroad; traffickers also use Solomon Islands as a transit point to move victims to other countries; local, South Asian, and Southeast Asian men and women are exploited in labor and sex trafficking in Solomon islands; local children are especially vulnerable to labor and sex trafficking; women from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines often pay large recruitment fees for jobs in Solomon Islands but are forced or coerced into commercial sex upon arrival; men from Indonesia and Malaysia are exploited in the logging, fishing, palm oil, and mining industries, while fisherman from Fiji, Indonesia, North Korea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam are at risk of exploitation on Taiwan-flagged vessels in Solomon Islands’ territorial waters; Chinese workers may be forced to work for Chinese companies in Solomon Islands; women and girls may be at risk of debt-based coercion in sex trafficking and domestic servitude; some official corruption may facilitate trafficking through irregular migration and involvement in the fishing and forestry sectors; some boys, girls, and young women are recruited for domestic work but then exploited in commercial sex at logging camps; Solomon Islander children may be exploited in labor trafficking in the agricultural sector, forced harvesting of seafood, and forced criminality in drug production and transportation and pickpocketing; widespread social stigma against LGBTQI+ individuals increases their vulnerability to trafficking (2023)