In an op-ed in Solomon Star News, Gavin Murray and Franz Drees-Gross write that "TODAY is International Women’s Day, and a perfect time to reflect on why it is so important to promote gender equality in the Pacific."
Shortly after midnight on May 20, Taur Matan Ruak was sworn in as Timor-Leste’s new president, taking over the role from José Ramos-Horta, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning former leader of the country’s independence movement.
Following independence in 2002, Asia’s youngest nation offers attractive long-term business opportunities despite the economic challenges it faces.
IFC has been active in Timor-Leste since 2004, supporting the country’s economic development by working with the private sector and the government on projects that help create jobs and improve livelihoods.
Our advice focuses on creating a business environment where the private sector can flourish for the benefit of the people. We help to make financing available to small business owners and people in rural areas, and through investments, we support basic infrastructure to connect people to bigger markets and much-needed services.
Improving the Investment Climate
IFC advises the government on developing laws and regulations that allow entrepreneurs to thrive and create jobs. We help simplify business registration and licensing processes, saving businesses time and money. We are also help streamline the process of importing vital goods, such as food and automobiles, to this island nation where manufacturing is limited.
We bring together the public and private sectors to address policies affecting businesses. Our work in establishing Timor-Leste’s first united chamber of commerce provided organizational skills and business leadership to local entrepreneurs and created a credible private sector counterpart to the government.
Increasing Access to Finance and Expanding Infrastructure
Close to 300,000 people – a third of Timor-Leste’s population – do not have access to banking services, making it difficult for entrepreneurs to save and borrow money. IFC is partnering with microfinance organizations to help increase funding and services to micro and small business owners and rural residents.
Investing in infrastructure and advising the government on private sector participation in complex projects are top priorities for IFC in Timor-Leste. We are helping the government set up a legislative framework to enable public-private partnership transactions, encouraging the private sector to invest in and deliver basic infrastructure. These initiatives aim to address the needs of close to 1.2 million people who currently lack sufficient access to transport, telecommunications, electricity, ports, water, sanitation and other services.