Solomon Islands

Country Summary

2022 population pyramid

Introduction

Background

The UK established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in the 1890s. Self-government came in 1976 and independence in 1978. Ethnic violence, government malfeasance, endemic crime, and other issues undermined stability.  From 2003 to 2017, the Australian-led multi-national Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands was generally effective in restoring law and order and rebuilding government institutions.

Geography

Area

total: 28,896 sq km

land: 27,986 sq km

water: 910 sq km

Climate

tropical monsoon; few temperature and weather extremes

Natural resources

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

People and Society

Population

702,694 (2022 est.)

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.)

Population growth rate

1.72% (2022 est.)

Government

Government type

parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm

Capital

name: Honiara

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General David VUNAGI (since 8 July 2019)

head of government: Prime Minister Manasseh SOGAVARE (since 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)

Economy

Economic overview

lower middle-income Pacific island economy; natural resource rich; primarily subsistent agriculture and fishing; land rights conflicts; fairly low public debt; underdeveloped financial sector; large, state-owned enterprise presence

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1.71 billion (2020 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$2,500 (2020 est.)

Agricultural products

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

Industries

fish (tuna), mining, timber

Exports

$430 million (2020 est.)

Exports - partners

China 65%, Italy 9%, India 6% (2019)

Exports - commodities

lumber, fish, aluminum, palm oil, cocoa beans (2019)

Imports

$560 million (2020 est.)

Imports - partners

China 24%, Australia 13%, South Korea 12%, Singapore 12%, Malaysia 10% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, fish, insulated wiring, broadcasting equipment, excavation machinery (2019)


Page last updated: Friday, May 13, 2022