Timor-Leste's many achievements deserve equal billing to the challenges it faces, says the World Bank

Dili July 29, 2005 - A recent report in an Australian newspaper about the World Bank's new Country Assistance Strategy for Timor-Leste failed to highlight the remarkable progress that the new nation has made since the restoration of independence in 1999.
World Bank Country Manager for Timor-Leste, Ms Elisabeth Huybens said the newspaper report gave the false impression that the country was in danger of losing its way.

'There is no doubt that Timor-Leste faces many challenges as a young nation but its achievements in such a short time deserve to be given the same, if not more, prominence in the world's media,' Ms Huybens said.

The Country Assistance Strategy (CAS), which was endorsed by the World Bank's Board of Directors on 19 July in Washington DC, commends Timor-Leste for its achievements in building the institutions needed for good governance, drafting state-of-the-art legislation for the key petroleum sector so that revenues flowing from it are managed prudently, and managing the country's growing budget responsibly.

Timor-Leste's recently passed Petroleum Fund Act attracted praise recently at the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative meeting in London and, in a group of nine post-conflict countries, Timor-Leste has scored the highest overall for economic management and delivery of social services and for having been stable and peaceful for the past five years.

The Timor-Leste CAS resulted from a year-long series of detailed consultations between the World Bank and major stakeholders, including government, civil society and other development partners.

'The resulting document presents a view on progress and development challenges that is widely shared throughout the country,' Ms Huybens said. 'By identifying the risks, the CAS seeks to present a commonly-accepted strategy for addressing them. Risks are not eventualities and should not be portrayed as such.'

The World Bank prepares Country Assistance Strategies for most of its client countries. These documents are always prepared in full consultation with the government and key stakeholders and are based on detailed analyses of the challenges facing the country, the state of its institutional development, governance issues and its economic, social and political outlook.

Ms Huybens said that far from being a restricted document, the Timor-Leste CAS is a public document reflecting the views of a wide section of Timorese and international actors.

For more information please visit www.worldbank.org/tl.

Contacts: in Dili, Luis Sequeira
(670) 723 0554
in Sydney, Elisabeth Mealey
61-2-9235 6331