The State of the Nation

It had to come – starting to sound intelligent I mean.

The UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) have just released the National Human Development Report 2006 for Timor Leste.

It paints a fairly black picture but at least Timor Leste has petroleum income from the Timor Sea and if used wisely, the country will get itself back into shape. But that is up to the local politicians to play a fair game.

Some snippets from the report …

  • Four years after gaining independence, impoverished Timor-Leste remains one of the world’s least-developed nations
  • Half the population lacks safe drinking water, 60 of 1,000 infants born alive die before their first birthday, and life expectancy, at only 55.5 years of age in 2004, is not improving
  • 80 percent of households in Timor-Leste earn a living from agriculture
  • The Government of Timor-Leste has already moved to safeguard any potential oil and gas wealth. In June 2005, the nation’s Parliament unanimously approved the creation of a Petroleum Fund to serve as a single account into which all petroleum revenue will be deposited, and from which all development funds will come
  • Poverty in Timor-Leste is already most severe in the rural areas. The vast proportion of current investment is directed to Dili, the capital, and only one-third of total public expenditure and one-fifth of goods and services target rural districts
  • the overwhelming majority of Timor-Leste’s people work in fields, not cities
  • two-thirds of women and half of men between the ages of 15 and 60 are illiterate
  • between 10 percent and 30 percent of primary school-age children still are not attending school
  • The report can be downloaded here