Timor-Leste's Economy Remains Strong, Prospects for Private Sector Development Strengthened - ADB

DILI, TIMOR-LESTE – The economic outlook for Timor-Leste remains strong in 2012, says the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Pacific Economic Monitor released today. Timor-Leste’s economy grew by about 10% in 2011 and a similar growth rate is expected in 2012. Rising government expenditure is keeping economic growth at high levels.

The ADB report, which reviews the performances of the economies of the Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste three times a year, notes that prospects for private sector development were strengthened by the recent approval of new land laws and the February approval of a policy and law for public-private partnerships.

Public-private partnerships are agreements between the public and private sectors for the provision of assets and/or services. They can be used in most infrastructure and social sectors, including power, water, transportation, telecommunications, education, and health.

“Private sector-led economic growth is needed to sustain development in Timor-Leste for the longer term,” said Craig Sugden, Regional Representative, ADB’s Special Office in Timor-Leste. “The new public-private partnerships law and ADB assistance to improve access to financial services are already boosting private sector development in Timor-Leste.”

ADB assisted the Government of Timor-Leste with drafting the law which outlines types of public infrastructure that may be considered for public-private partnerships and how such projects will be evaluated and managed. Assistance was provided by ADB’s private sector development initiative – a regional technical assistance project cofinanced by AusAID – which is helping build a business environment that’s more conducive to private sector involvement in Timor-Leste.

The new issue of the Monitor also highlighted the benefits of a program of major road upgrades that has begun in 2012. The first section to be upgraded is the Dili to Batugade national road, which provides a vital link to imports from the port of Kupang in West Timor, Indonesia.

Since ADB began operations in Timor-Leste in 1999, it has received six grants from the Trust Fund for East Timor totaling $52.8 million, five Asian Development Fund (ADF) grants of a total $85.0 million and 35 technical assistance (TA) projects worth $30.9 million. Currently, four ADF grants of $75.0 million and seven TA projects worth $17.8 million are active.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region.