Timor-Leste recently held its fourth presidential election, an event analysts consider a reflection of stability in this young nation of just over a million inhabitants.
The holding of these elections, and the country’s recent history, having gained its independence at the beginning of the 21st century, also confirmed the widespread view that, despite the difficulties of the past 15 years of sovereignty, Timor-Leste has achieved “tremendous progress” through sound social policies.
Although the country still faces a high poverty rate, its GDP is growing, and the economy is increasingly attractive to foreign investors - all good signs for a nation that has experienced repeated episodes of violence since its independence in 2002, following centuries of Portuguese colonization, and more than 25 years of annexation by Indonesia.
Former guerrilla leader Francisco Guterres, of the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) party, will be the fourth elected president of the youngest state in Southeast Asia, and will have among his tasks the diversification of an economy that today largely depends on oil exports.
Eliminating oil dependence, whose revenues are deposited in the Petroleum Fund, created in 2005 and holding a total of $15.8 billion dollars in 2016, has become one of the main objectives of Timorese policy.
In this sense, the Strategic Development Plan, drafted by the government, offers a vision, goals, and indicators for the next two decades, based on “four key pillars”: human capital, infrastructure, the creation of solid economic foundations, and an institutional framework that focuses on quality management and effectiveness.
The Asian nation also has great potential for the export of natural resources such as coffee, sandalwood, marble, and vanilla.
Meanwhile, one of its priorities is to increase cooperation with various countries in the political and commercial spheres, another important factor to achieve progress and development in different areas.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF TIMOR-LESTE
East Timor occupies the eastern half of the island of Timor and also includes the exclave of Oecusse on the north western side of the island, plus the small islands of Atauro and Jaco.
AREA: 14,874 km2
POPULATION: 1,261,072 (in 2016)
LANGUAGE: The two official languages are Tetum and Portuguese
GOVERNMENT: Parliamentary Republic
OFFICIAL CURRENCY: United States Dollar (USD)
GDP: 4.935 billion dollars (2016)
GDP (PER CAPITA): 4,200 dollars (2016)
MAIN EXPORTS: Crude oil, Coffee
INFORMATION SOURCES: Government of Timor-Leste, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization