English News (12)
Reserve assets grow and the outlook for tourism and petroleum remains positive
Dili, Timor – Leste – After a decade of strong economic activity, growth in Timor-Leste is expected to have fallen sharply in 2017, following a tightening of public spending, according to a new World Bank report released today.
The March 2018 Timor-Leste Economic Report also identifies potential for development in offshore petroleum, and the tourism and coffee sectors.
The report—the first in a new twice-yearly series from the World Bank, which aims to provide ongoing analysis of the country’s economy—projects that Timor-Leste’s GDP fell to -1.8 percent in 2017, compared to 5.3 percent the year before. With government expenditure representing about 75 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, a tightening in government spending 2017 has had a significant impact on the country’s economy. Constrained spending is likely to continue through the first half of 2018, the report adds.
“We expect this slowdown to be temporary, reflecting short-term adjustments in spending while the government continues to implement programs to strengthen the economic outlook.” said David Knight, Senior Country Economist for Timor-Leste. “While it is important for the country to gradually reduce its dependence on public spending, it is also important that lower public spending does not adversely impact priority social services.”
The report also highlights that investment returns from the Petroleum Fund have been particularly high, increasing the fund’s balance to US$16.8 billion at end 2017. International air arrivals continued to grow over 2017, suggesting that the international visitor market has held up, while private consumption is expected to have been robust. The recently agreement on a maritime boundary brings new offshore oil and gas development one step closer, which has the potential to bring significant benefits to Timor-Leste.
“The World Bank Group looks forward to working closely with government and the private sector alike to identify the key constraints to accelerate private sector development, create jobs and improve quality of life across Timor-Leste” said Macmillan Anyanwu, Country Representative for Timor-Leste.
The Timor-Leste Economic Report includes an in-depth analysis of areas for reform to reduce poverty and boost shared prosperity, in-line with Timor-Leste’s national development goals. Key priority reform areas include addressing the multi-sectoral challenge of severe malnutrition, improving systems of public service delivery, developing a targeted economic development policy, and putting environmental and fiscal management back on a sustainable path.
Eliminating malaria is both possible and necessary. Here’s how to accelerate progress
WHO Regional Director, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh said, WHO South-East Asia Region has made dramatic progress in malaria prevention and control. As the recently released World Malaria Report documents, since 2010 the South-East Asia Region has led the world in reducing the number of people falling ill and dying from malaria, slashing the caseload by 50% and associated mortality by 60%. In addition, two countries in the Region – Maldives and Sri Lanka – have been certified malaria-free. In 2016 four countries recorded fewer than 10 000 cases, while Bhutan and Timor-Leste reported zero deaths since 2013 and 2015 respectively.
These are substantial achievements, particularly in a world where the battle against malaria remains as challenging as ever. That eight of the Region’s nine malaria endemic countries are on course to reduce malaria cases by 40% by 2020 (with three countries – Bhutan, Nepal and Timor-Leste – identified as having the potential to achieve elimination) is proof that with the right policies and robust political will, malaria’s deadly burden can be lifted.
To make that happen Region-wide by 2030, high-burden countries such as India, Indonesia and Myanmar must continue their forward trajectory. While each has made substantial gains in driving down malaria incidence and mortality, their further success will have a decisive impact on the Region’s fortunes given that together they account for around 98% of its burden. More importantly, they will have a decisive impact on vulnerable populations now suffering the disease, raising up their health and wellbeing and promoting social and economic advancement.
To achieve these outcomes, a number of tools outlined in WHO’s Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030 are of critical function.
Key among them is deepening community engagement and action at the grassroots. As the World Malaria Report highlights, countries across the South-East Asia Region have benefitted immensely from working directly with affected communities. Whether by disseminating insecticidal nets or carrying out rapid diagnostic testing, grassroots volunteer networks have the ability to catalyze real change where effectively engaged. India’s Accredited Social Health Activist programme is a good example of how this can be done, and how countries can reach the unreached and underserved while establishing greater community buy-in.
The embrace of innovation and new technologies is likewise crucial. That means strengthening and expanding support for basic, clinical and implementation research able to enhance understanding of both malaria parasites and the mosquitoes that spread them. It also means investing in new technologies and forms of service delivery that can hasten progress in specific contexts. Though Region-wide uptake of Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT), for example, has had dramatic impact, countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion, where resistance has inhibited ACT’s efficacy, must now seek-out and obtain newer, more powerful tools before untreatable parasite strains emerge.
Stronger surveillance and information systems also hold great potential. By building on and fortifying existing surveillance, national malaria programs will be in a better position to allocate or redirect resources to affected areas, especially in the event of an outbreak. Stronger surveillance will also help gauge the effectiveness of interventions, allowing authorities to modify their approach where appropriate. As part of this push, better information on the abundance and behavior of mosquitoes is needed to support mosquito control measures, including the spraying of insecticides, the use of insecticidal nets and behavioral change communications.
Importantly, given that malaria’s burden transcends national borders, and can be reintroduced where it has already been eliminated, Region-wide cross-border collaboration is essential. To this end, WHO’s data-sharing platform in the Greater Mekong Sub region is a great example of how countries can pool information to pursue common goals and empower national malaria programs. A similar model should be considered for the entire Region, allowing authorities in each country to access robust and up-to-date data that can help guide their efforts. To make this happen, political obstacles must be overcome in all countries, and transparency pursued as a matter of principle.
Recent momentum in each of these areas is encouraging. In November, a ministerial roundtable was held in New Delhi where, among other things, Member countries focused on operationalizing the South-East Asia Region’s 2017-2030 malaria elimination action plan. To follow that up, in early December the Region’s health ministers convened once again, this time in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyidaw, to share experiences and learn from one another in an effort to accelerate progress at the local, national and regional levels.
This momentum is exactly what is needed for the South-East Asia Region to stay on course and achieve its 2020 and 2030 targets. For the Region’s three high-burden Member countries, as well as those that have eliminated or are on the cusp of eliminating the disease, the need to retain focus and deepen the implementation of key tools and strategies cannot be overemphasized. Across the Region, we can accelerate progress and help secure the health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations. Malaria: We can – and must – eliminate it. (pr)
DILI – Fifteen hospitality trainers will celebrate completing an Advanced Hospitality Trainer Program today. Their timely training, delivered at CNEFP Tibar in association with Charles Darwin University, equips them to teach hospitality skills at an international standard, supporting the Government of Timor-Leste’s ambitions to grow its hospitality and tourism sectors.
With new expertise in teaching food and beverage and accommodation services, and a strong focus on customer service, the trainers will return to their municipalities to pass on their knowledge and skills, inspiring the next generation of students to become hospitality experts.
The Hospitality Advanced Trainer Program is part of a wider initiative funded by the Australian Government to support workforce development and vocational skills.
Australian Ambassador to Timor-Leste, Peter Roberts said ‘There is huge potential for a tourism industry in Timor-Leste, making the most of the country’s natural beauty and rich history. A skilled workforce is key to realising that potential.’
According to the 2017 Enterprise and Skills Survey*, work in the food and accommodation industries increased from 13% to 18% last year and is projected to provide new jobs and make a significant contribution to Timor-Leste’s economy.
Hospitality industry representatives will attend the completion ceremony, including key note speaker Tony Jape, Executive Director and General Manager of Dili Development Company who said ‘All of the trainers who have participated in the skills upgrade course will play a vital and leading role in vocational training for tourism in Timor-Leste…. I cannot state strongly enough how important it is to have a clear vocational training strategy if we are to reap the rewards that are on offer.’
Australia’s Workforce Development Program includes support to INDMO and SEJT to develop additional accredited hospitality qualifications and upgrade training facilities at CNEFP Tibar.
Using these upgraded facilities and with the additional expertise of the hospitality trainers, CNEFP Tibar will commence delivery of two new Certificate III qualifications in Food and Beverage and Accommodation Services to employees in the hospitality industry. The new program, scheduled to commence this month, will further strengthen hospitality skills training in Timor-Leste.
During the ceremony the Director of CNEFP Tibar, Simao Barreto will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Charles Darwin University, promoting a collaborative relationship between the two. (pr)
DILI – Thousands of Timorese have received chief negotiator Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão at the International Airport Presidente Nicolau Lobato Comoro, Dili, on Sunday March 11, 2018.
According to Tempo Timor observation that the main road to get to the international airport has been blocked by police, and thousands of people ranging from small children to old man stand on the sides of the road from the airport to the big bridge Comoro.
The situation of Gusmão's reception at the airport is strictly guarded by the security of the state both from the police and defense force.
Although the negotiation process on the Greater Sunrise was not yet over, the East Timorese were happy and cheered to receive Gusmão with the cry of Viva Xanana Gusmão.
After his party lost the legislative elections last year, and in August Gusmão left the country to negotiate maritime boundaries between Timor – Leste and Australia. The results of these negotiations have been signed by both countries at UN headquarters on 6 March.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported that Timor – Leste's chief negotiator Xanana Gusmão has accused Australia of essentially colluding with oil companies to ensure Greater Sunrise oil and gas gets piped to Darwin instead of Timor – Leste.
While signing the treaty in New York yesterday, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she hoped both states could “live peacefully and prosper together” and was pleased to be personally involved.
“With this treaty, we open a new chapter in relations between Australia and Timor-Leste,” she said.
Timor – Leste’s Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister for the Delimitation of Borders and the Agent in the Conciliation, Hermenegildo Pereira, said the treaty we have signed is a good treaty, it is equitable and forward-leaning. Appreciate that where we have arrived is owing to the tremendous leadership of both countries and the immense efforts of the Conciliation Commission.
“This is an important new beginning, I look forward to both our two countries working together to advance the prosperity of our peoples, nations and region”.
Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, the influential East Timorese Catholic bishop and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, welcomed the border resolution as an economic boon for his deeply Catholic country.
"We thank God because our sea becomes more widespread ... our economic zone becomes bigger," Belo said. "In the sea and on the sea bed, there is much wealth. Timorese will diligently explore and make this wealth contribute to us."
Timor – Leste will go to the polls on May 12 for the second time in less than a year, with the country’s politicians calling upon voters to break a stalemate that ended almost a decade of hard – earned political stability.
Campaign will officially begin on April 10, and the election is set to be hotly contested by the two opposing political camps that have consolidated ahead of the vote. (Tempo Timor)
DILI – Women in Timor - Leste are still struggling to achieve the equality with men in all aspects of life.
Executive director of Alola Foundation Alzira Reis asking to all political parties to consistent and maintain to give opportunity to women in the political environment particularly in the up coming fresh election.
DILI – The Singaporean company has got the green light from the government of Timor - Leste to invest in Tasi Tolu after its investment plan has been pending for several years.