DILI, TIMOR-LESTE Paolo Spantigati, who assumed office today as the new Country Director of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Timor-Leste Resident Mission (TLRM) in Dili, Timor-Leste, said he will encourage private sector development to drive inclusive economic growth in Timor-Leste in his new role.

“Using ADB’s new Country Partnership Strategy as a guide, I look forward to working with the Government of Timor-Leste to improve infrastructure, develop safe water systems and increase investments in human capital to help develop a sustainable, non-oil economy,” Mr. Spantigati said.

ADB’s support will help Timor-Leste lay stronger foundations for a sustainable non-oil economy by improving transport connectivity, expanding access to clean water in urban centers, and improving the financial and environmental sustainability of electricity supplies. ADB is also helping the government develop an integrated system for technical education, prepare for ASEAN membership, and implement reforms to develop the financial sector.

Mr. Spantigati is a national of Italy. He graduated suma cum laude in economics from the University of Rome la Sapienza in Italy and has more than 20 years of professional experience working in economic development, including nearly 17 years in ADB.

ADB is already helping boost economic opportunities, reconnect communities, and reduce poverty in some of the most disadvantaged areas in Timor-Leste through a range of initiatives, including infrastructure development, microfinance assistance, support for private sector development, and building knowledge and skills.

The ADB-supported Timor-Leste Road Network Upgrading Sector Project, for example, is helping to create a national network of reliable, safe roads. The District Capitals Water Supply Project will provide clean, reliable water supplies to about 30,500 people over the next 20 years. To support the development of capacity for infrastructure construction and maintenance, ADB is supporting a $12 million skills training project for mid-level managers.

ADB assistance has also helped the Institute of Microfinance Timor-Leste become the country’s first locally owned commercial bank providing loans to individuals and small businesses in urban and rural areas.

Timor-Leste joined ADB member in 2002 and has received cumulative loans of $178 million, grants of $137.8 million, and technical assistance funding of over $35.8 million. 

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, ADB in December 2016 will mark 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2015, ADB assistance totaled $27.2 billion, including cofinancing of $10.7 billion.

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