Infrastructure, skills boost for Timor-Leste


<p style="text-align: justify;">Eleven years after its independence, Timor-Leste, one of the world’s youngest nations has been steadily emerging as one of the rapidly growing economies of the region. <!--more--></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">With a substantial population and plentiful natural resources, the country’s economic potential is being recognized around the world.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">However, Timor-Leste still lacks the infrastructure to fast track its economic and human development. The Manila, Philippines headquartered Asian Development Bank (ADB), which has been assisting the country over the past decade, has now announced the establishment of a resident mission in Timor-Leste.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Shane Rosenthal, Resident Representative of the Timor-Leste Resident Mission (TLRM) said, “Upgrading from an office to a resident mission illustrates ADB’s long-term commitment to Timor-Leste’s development and progress. Through our expanded local presence we will continue to work with the government on infrastructure, skills-training, private sector development and regional cooperation initiatives.”</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">ADB has been a major partner to Timor-Leste since its independence. It has aligned its activities with the government’s strategic development plan, while expanding its country portfolio and knowledge work there. The bank is helping boost economic opportunities, reconnect communities and reduce poverty through a range of initiatives. These include infrastructure development, skills development, private sector development, and public sector capacity building. It is also assisting the government to prepare for regional economic integration, with a focus on its readiness to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Work is under way on the $46 million Road Network Sector Project, funded by an ADB grant, which will improve more than 108 km of national roads and develop a road maintenance programme. To support the development of capacity for infrastructure construction and maintenance, ADB is financing a $12 million mid-level skills training project. The Dili Urban Water Supply Sector Project is providing continuous, 24-hour access to good quality water to approximately one-third of all Dili households, businesses, and institutions.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The financial institution also helped the Institute of Microfinance Timor-Leste (IMTL) become the country’s first locally owned commercial bank – the National Commercial Bank of Timor-Leste (BNCTL) providing loans to individuals and small businesses in urban and rural areas. It now has 12 branches across the country. IMTL has boosted local entrepreneurship, jobs, and investment, with 40% of BNCTL’s loans going to women.</p>