Building Timor-Leste

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Insuring the growth of Timor-Leste’s Economy

My Senior Advisor at Peace Dividend Trust, Edward Rees, was blogging yesterday about the signs of growth in the Timorese economy. So, in between reconciling the number of businesses we now have in the new Timor-Leste Business Portal since the upgrade was completed last month (almost 2,800 and growing, by the way!!), I started thinking about the bigger picture too.

Edward, I’m sorry to say that I don’t have any pictures of batako presses to share with you, but I’ll be sure to keep my eye out for them when I’m in the districts next. I do, however, have pictures from yesterdays opening of the first insurance company in Timor-Leste, National Insurance Timor-Leste (NITL). This is pretty big news as insurance has been a major problem over here, namely because it hasn’t existed up until now.

President Ramos Horta with NITL executive.

Officially opened by President Ramos Horta, the afternoon was well supported by the Dili business community. As you might imagine, Chief Operating Officer, Harry Goh, was kept extremely busy. However, I was lucky enough to catch up with him and find out how things had been going since we last saw each other when he was registering the business with PDM-TL.

Harry mentioned NITL’s firm commitment to employing Timorese staff and, in total, 6 national staff are currently employed in their office. When I asked about training Harry stated that this had been a major priority for all staff during the businesses preparations to open. Insurance is technical, so training has focused on English literacy, numerical and computer skills. Some would suggest that these are pretty important skills for young people to be learning in order to build a strong national economy or join the international business community.

President Ramos Horta with the entire NITL staff.

Juane Lim, Director, Claims Management, mentioned that it had been a long process in getting the business established but that Harry and the team saw the many opportunities in Timor-Leste. Positive talk about the opportunities in Timor-Leste is a great sign coming from a business that is originally from one of the major business hubs of the world, Singapore.

International investment, new service industries being introduced and a focus on training – sounds like signs of growth to me.

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2 Comments

  1. Edward Rees says:

    Heidi,

    This is great. I remember seeing the signs going up a few months ago.

    Indeed, the fact that a Singaporean company has come to offer insurance is a major sign of confidence in Timor-Leste. However, lets remember its not entirely new – there was some insurance available pre-1999. But the companies never paid out for the 1999 damage!

  2. Heidi Reid says:

    Good news indeed – Let’s hope there are more good things to come Timor-Leste’s way!

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