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In support of accelerated economic development, USAID works closely with the government and people of Timor-Leste to improve agricultural productivity; encourage private-sector competitiveness; tackle serious health challenges, particularly those affecting women and children; strengthen sub-national democratic institutions and good governance practices, including anti-corruption systems; protect the environment; and help at-risk populations adapt to climate change.
ECONOMIC GROWTH AND TRADE
As approximately 70 percent of Timor-Leste’s population relies on agriculture for their livelihoods, USAID focuses on accelerating inclusive economic growth for farm households in the country’s rural areas. Our partnerships, including with the Government of New Zealand and ConocoPhillips, support activities aimed at boosting output above subsistence levels and improving incomes by increasing farm productivity and establishing links to markets. Additionally, we provide training and information to rural households to increase household consumption of nutritious foods.
Heath indicators in Timor-Leste are still among the worst in the Asia-Pacific region, especially for women and children. According to Timor-Leste’s Demographic and Health Survey 2009-10, Timor-Leste has the highest maternal and under-5 mortality rates in Southeast Asia (557 deaths per 100,000 live births and 64 deaths per 1,000 live births, respectively). The country’s poor health statistics are driven by low immunization coverage, neonatal complications, and the prevalence of pneumonia and diarrhea, which is compounded by high malnutrition rates. However, the country is making progress. Between 1990 and 2010, Timor-Leste achieved the largest reduction in under-5 mortality rates in the world. Between 2011 and 2013, USAID helped increase DPT3 (diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus), measles and polio vaccination coverage for infants by more than 10 percent in targeted areas, contributing to the country’s successful eradication of polio in 2014. In partnership with the Government of Timor-Leste, USAID trains health workers to strengthen maternal, neonatal, child and reproductive health services, particularly in rural areas.
DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND GOVERNANCE
Since independence, Timor-Leste has faced daunting challenges to establishing a viable state and a representative democracy. Nonetheless, progress has been made with Timor-Leste conducting multiple free and fair elections, most recently in 2012. Yet the country still lacks the fundamental governance systems essential to adequately respond to persistently high rates of poverty, unemployment, growing socioeconomic inequality and unresolved conflict. The country faces challenges upholding human rights, reducing impunity and increasing access to basic public services. USAID partners with the Government of Timor-Leste to build the resiliency of democratic institutions and further consolidate good governance practices. USAID also partners with the judiciary and legal service providers in Timor-Leste to facilitate access to justice for rural populations.
Last updated: April 12, 2017