Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has held his first official engagement with US Ambassador to Solomon Islands today just two days after being elected Solomon Islands latest leader.

Ambassador Teddy Taylor congratulated Prime Minister Lilo before the two leaders discussed issues of common interest between the two countries.

During the meeting, Ambassador Taylor informed Mr Lilo on Solomon Islands qualification for the US Millennium Challenge Account funding.

The funds in the Millennium Challenge Account will be distributed to developing countries that demonstrate a strong commitment toward:

  • Good governance. Rooting out corruption, upholding human rights, and adherence to the rule of law are essential conditions for successful development.
  • The health and education of their people. Investment in education, health care, and immunization provide for healthy and educated citizens who become agents of development.
  • Sound economic policies that foster enterprise and entrepreneurship. More open markets, sustainable budget policies, and strong support for individual entrepreneurship unleash the enterprise and creativity for lasting growth and prosperity.

“Solomon Islands is now qualified to be considered for funding support under the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA),”said Mr Taylor.

The Millennium Challenge Account Board to be chaired by the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet in December 2011 to consider possible funding support to various countries who have qualified for such support.

Ambassador Taylor said Pacific countries that would entitle for the funding are Samoa, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands.

Vanuatu is the only country in the Pacific that has already benefited from the Millennium Challenge Account.

The US Ambassador also indicated the possibility for a joint submission from Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, enabling Solomon Islands to benefit from the experience of Vanuatu on how they manage their road infrastructure project funded under the MCA.

He said that he would report back on the matter after the MCA’s Board meeting.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Hon Gordon Darcy Lilo expressed appreciation for the country’s eligibility to qualify for the MCA funding support and will await further advice from the US Embassy after the MCA Board meeting.

Ambassador Taylor also indicated the availability of funding support for climate change related activities for countries in the Pacific including Solomon Islands, under the US Aid Office recently opened in Port Moresby, PNG.