ADB, Timor-Leste New Partnership Strategy Targets Infrastructure and Economy

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Timor-Leste have agreed a five-year strategic partnership that will support infrastructure, financial services, and skills training to meet the needs of a growing economy.

Endorsed by ADB’s Board of Directors, the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) 2011-2015 will support the private sector as a key driver of change to help Timor-Leste make the transition from a public sector-led economy.

Timor-Leste is in a new development phase funded by offshore petroleum. A high rate of economic growth is being pursued by using petroleum revenue to fund human and physical capital. The government is expanding key public services, providing a social safety net, and saving energy revenues for future generations in a Petroleum Fund. The fund holds $8.3 billion in offshore investments, and ranks highly in international best practice standards for transparency.

“Timor-Leste has made great progress towards securing stability and initiating a new development strategy,” said Robert Wihtol, Director General of ADB’s Pacific Department. “The CPS will ensure that ADB provides focused support to help Timor-Leste implement its Strategic Development Plan for 2011-2030.”

ADB will support the delivery of strategic infrastructure projects and help build the capacity of government agencies to manage infrastructure. Support will be provided for implementation of public/private partnerships, with ADB playing an “honest broker” role in facilitating private sector engagement in infrastructure.

The CPS reflects the importance of achieving the government’s development priority of upgrading infrastructure. The partnership strategy will build on ADB’s experience and comparative strength in infrastructure development.

ADB will also provide support for regional cooperation and integration, as well as technical and vocational education.

“By supporting infrastructure development, encouraging better access to financial services, building labor market skills, and strengthening Timor-Leste’s links with Asia, ADB will help sustain economic growth. More communities will also be able to benefit from that growth,” said Craig Sugden, ADB Resident Representative in Timor-Leste.

Since ADB began operations in Timor-Leste in 1999, it has provided six grants from the Trust Fund for East Timor totaling $52.8 million, three Asian Development Fund (ADF) grants worth $62.0 million, and 31 technical assistance (TA) grants worth $29.11 million. Currently, two ADF grants of $52.0 million and six TA projects worth $18.4 million are active.