WASHINGTON, March 19, 2013 -- The World Bank today launched a new four-year strategy for Timor-Leste, following discussions by the Boards of Directors of the Bank and IFC. The new strategy is designed to support the country as it looks to diversify the economy and improve jobs, infrastructure and health and education for its 1.2 million people.
“Timor-Leste has achieved significant progress over the last decade, including major gains in health and education and record expansion of the economy,” said Luis Constantino, Country Manager of the World Bank in Timor-Leste. “Now is a critical time for Timor-Leste to translate this into long-term prosperity, with sound investments that improve lives and expand opportunities for the Timorese people.”
Timor-Leste faces a number of pressing challenges over the years ahead, including the need to develop critical non-oil industries such as tourism and agriculture, and to support job creation for its growing youth population.
The World Bank Group program will work to build critical infrastructure such as roads and telecommunications; help deliver projects to improve the quality of health and education services, and will support efforts to develop the private sector and improve access to finance.
It will also support a number of catalytic agriculture projects, including trainings and technology to increase crop yields, to assist farmers and improve nutrition and food security. Seventy percent of the Timorese population currently depends on subsistence farming for their food and income.
The IFC, the member of the World Bank Group focused exclusively on private sector development, will continue to support government initiatives to improve the business environment, addressing in particular access to finance and barriers to entrepreneurship, and to encourage private involvement in infrastructure development such as ports and airports.
"IFC is committed to bringing global knowledge and experience to create opportunity for people in Timor-Leste to improve their lives by making it easier for them to start and run businesses, increasing investment and access to financial services, and helping to build essential infrastructure that will connect Timor to global markets and encourage long-term economic development," said Milissa Day, IFC Resident Representative in Timor-Leste.
Aligned with the Government’s Strategic Development Plan, the Strategy has been developed through consultation with more than 2,000 people, ranging from community leaders, women’s groups, students, and other organizations, to reflect the needs and desires of the Timorese population.