TIMOR LESTE WHAT’S UP?
Erle Frayne D. Argonza
To our ASEAN neighbor east of Indonesia, we hope political turmoils have gone down considerably. Institution-building is a tough work to do, and I say this from experience being among those who helped build civil society groups, did capacity-building for marginal sectors, and sustain systems via social re-engineering efforts.
Just some couples of years back, Timor Leste experienced one turmoil after another, with certain fanatical mob groups brandishing machetes and hunting down perceived adversaries. Signs that East Timor has got a long way to go to building a culture of peace and respect for multi-ethnicity.
Rest assured, development stakeholders are making breakthroughs in Timor Leste during the ‘take-off’ stage of their macro-institution building efforts. Among the efforts being done are intervention projects funded by Official Development Assistance or ODA.
An update report on ADB engagements is shown below.
[Philippines, 06 July 2011]
ADB President to Visit Dili to Discuss Support for Timor-Leste
4 Jul 2011
DILI, TIMOR-LESTE – Asian Development Bank President (ADB) Haruhiko Kuroda will visit Dili next week to attend the launch of Timor-Leste’s Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030. The Director General of ADB's Pacific Department, Robert Wihtol, will accompany the President on the visit.
During his visit on 11-12 July Mr. Kuroda will also make a special presentation to the 2011 Development Partners Meeting in Dili on his vision for Asia in 2030 and beyond, and suggest how Timor-Leste can best position itself to share in Asia’s success.
“President Kuroda’s visit highlights ADB’s good relationship with Timor-Leste and its long-standing commitment to helping the country reduce poverty,” said Craig Sugden, Resident Representative of ADB’s Special Office in Timor-Leste. “ADB is pleased to support the Government of Timor-Leste as it pursues closer ties with Southeast Asia.”
Regional cooperation is one of five core areas specified under ADB's long-term strategic framework, Strategy 2020, which is helping ADB achieve its mission to reduce poverty in Asia and the Pacific. ADB is ensuring that regional cooperation and integration are a part of all operations to help developing member countries address regional challenges and opportunities through collective action.
ADB is helping boost economic opportunities, reconnect communities and reduce poverty in some of the most disadvantaged areas in Timor-Leste through a range of initiatives. These include infrastructure development, technical assistance for microfinance, support for private sector development, and building knowledge within government agencies.
Work will soon begin on the $46 million Road Network Sector Project, funded by an ADB grant which will help rehabilitate over 130 km of national roads and develop a road maintenance program. The $3 million ‘Our Roads, Our Future’ grant package is already funding rehabilitation of about 90 km of rural feeder roads and small-scale infrastructure in roadside villages through community-based works. The $6 million Dili Water Supply Project will start to refurbish parts of the capital’s water supply system later in 2011.
ADB assistance is also helping the Institute of Microfinance Timor-Leste (IMfTL) become the country’s first locally-owned commercial bank to provide loans to individuals and small businesses in urban and rural areas. It now has 10 branches across the country. IMfTL has boosted local entrepreneurship, jobs, and investment with 40% of IMfTL’s loans going to women.
Since Timor-Leste became an ADB member in 2002, it has received six grants from the Trust Fund for East Timor ($52.8 million), three Asian Development Fund (ADF) grants ($62.0 million), and 31 Technical Assistance (TA) projects ($29.11 million). Two ADF grants ($52.0 million) and six TA projects ($18.4 million) are active.