From Chancery Lane to Ainaro – The Need for Information Is Still The Same.
It’s a long commute from my old office in Chancery Lane, London in the UK, to the town of Ainaro, Timor-Leste, especially when you throw in a quick stop over at my parents’ sheep and cattle farm in south-eastern New South Wales, Australia for a stint working in the shearing shed. But that’s how it happened that, after my initial thought of working in a developing country 12 months ago, I found myself in Ainaro with my new work colleagues from Peace Dividend Trust.
Upon our arrival my team took me to the business place of Mr Mario Nunes Ximenes Carvalho, an old acquaintance of the “Buy Local. Build Timor-Leste” Business Portal. He had already registered his construction business, Haburas Saray Construction Lda, online with us in July 2008. We were informed that it had been a successful period for Mr Nunes Ximenes Carvalho since PDT’s last visit, winning contracts with Governmental Departments, INGOs such at the World Food Program (WFP) and private enterprises such as Tobisima.
However, the news that I found most exciting was that Mr Nunes Ximenes Carvalho had opened a new carpentry business, Carpentaria Hatleolana Unipessoal, last year. Yes, you’re probably thinking, that’s great that he’s expanding, and I think that also. But really, what caught my attention, was why he set the new business up.
He explained to our team that the idea came as a result of the information he had been receiving from PDM-TL about the new business opportunities in the Ainaro district. It was simple; there were lots of construction companies to build the buildings but not many carpentry businesses to manufacture the fittings and furniture to go in them! As a result, he now employs a further 6 employees through his carpentry business, on top of the 5 he had already employed through his construction company.
As was mentioned in an earlier blog by Senior Advisor to Peace Dividend Trust Edward Rees, the Timorese are only to aware that information is power. Carpentaria Hatleolana Unipessoal is just another example of the importance of projects such as PDM-TL that continue to provide the information that Timorese businesses can use to take advantage of the opportunities that arise as public spending and the development dollars continue to role into Timor-Leste.