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language: English (official),
Prime minister: Derek Sikua
Head of state: Queen Elizabeth
Agro-Industry Development Culture and ethnicity
The population of Solomon Islands is
predominantly Melanesian (about 95%) although
there are smaller Polynesian, Micronesian,
Chinese and European communities. The social
structure is extremely diverse and complex and
varies from island to island. Different customs
- codes of behaviour, systems of land tenure,
leadership rules, blends of traditional and
world religions, marriage rules and so on -
exist throughout the nation. Most communities
recognise strong kinship links and obligations
with the broad language group.
Food and shelter :
Fresh seafood, chicken, green vegetables and
tubers cooked in coconut milk or baked in the
ground form the basis of most meals.
Bush-materials, such as thatched coconut leaves
and woven bamboo, are used for housing in the
villages. Electricity is generated using
imported fuel and is only generally available in
five urban centres.
The Solomon Islands, a former British protectorate in the Pacific, is striving to recover from a civil conflict that brought it to the brink of collapse.
More than 90% of the islanders are ethnic Melanesians, but there has been intense and bitter rivalry between the Isatabus on Guadalcanal, the largest island, and migrant Malaitans from the neighbouring island.
Fighting broke out in 1998 when the Isatabu Freedom Movement began to force Malaitans out, accusing them of taking land and jobs. Around 20,000 people abandoned their homes, with many subsequently leaving Guadalcanal.
Politics: PM Manasseh Sogavare was forced to step down in December 2007 after losing a vote of confidence
International: Australia leads a mission which aims to ensure security; the force arrived in 2003 when violence between ethnic militias threatened to spiral into anarchy
The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) operates a public radio service. A high rate of illiteracy means that the SIBC has more influence than the press.
In 2004 the media rights body Reporters Without Borders said the Australian-led mission to restore order had improved working conditions for local journalists. Militia leaders who had threatened the press had been jailed, it added.
The Australian government has donated equipment to SIBC and has sponsored programmes aimed at promoting peace. Taiwan has also granted technical aid.