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Solomon Islands Companies Move Ahead on Support for Women in Business

Honiara, Solomon Islands, February 23, 2018 — Seventeen of Solomon Islands’ largest businesses, with more than 6000 employees, are now undertaking measures to move more women into leadership positions, build respectful and supportive workplaces, and promote women to non-traditional jobs.
The companies all signed up to the Waka Mere Commitment to Action, an initiative of IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry. IFC’s work in Solomon Islands is under the Pacific Partnership, supported by the Australian and New Zealand Governments.  
Speaking after meetings with the Chamber of Commerce, businesses and local women, IFC’s Pacific head, Thomas Jacobs, said 12 companies also have workers completing training in dealing with family and domestic violence, as part of the initiative to create respectful and supportive workplaces for women.
“We know violence takes a terrible toll on women and comes at a cost to business, through increased absenteeism and other impacts,” Jacobs said. “These companies understand it makes good business sense to help staff facing violence, especially when done as part of broader efforts to support working women and men and tackle bullying and harassment in the workplace.”  
While in the capital, Honiara, Jacobs also held talks with the Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare.  
The IFC Pacific head also visited the western region – home to Solomon Islands’ only tuna loining and canning facility, SolTuna. IFC’s gender advisory team has been working with SolTuna to empower women through leadership and financial literacy training, expand opportunities for women in non-traditional roles, such as forklift driving, and help staff affected by violence. As a result, IFC’s gender and labor advisory work has helped SolTuna significantly reduce absenteeism and costs.
IFC has made two investments to support the tuna industry in Solomon Islands. In 2013, IFC provided a $9 million loan to SolTuna Limited. Last August, $10 million was provided to its sister company, NFD, to support sustainable tuna production and jobs in Solomon Islands.
“We are looking to do more to support the tuna industry in Solomon Islands. We understand it’s important that these companies are able to boost their capacity to catch and process fish, which is not only an important source of protein in the region, but also vital to help the nation benefit more from the income from its tuna resources,” Jacobs said.
As part of its work in Solomon Islands, IFC is working to boost the country’s income from the tourist industry. An IFC tourism investment pre-feasibility study, currently underway, is mapping the tourism potential and barriers to growth of tourism in the Western Province. It will act as a central reference document to be used by the government, private sector and international development partners, to help coordinate efforts to develop tourism in Western Province.
About IFC
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In FY17, we delivered a record $19.3 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit .
Pacific Partnership
IFC’s work in the Pacific is guided by the Pacific Partnership. Australia, New Zealand and IFC are working together through the Pacific Partnership to stimulate private sector investment and reduce poverty in the Pacific.
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