Just a couple of days ago I was talking of Timor-Leste being a land of possibilities. Well its also a land of “land disputes”. In January 2010 CJITL reported on a land dispute between people in Manatuto, a Macau business and the Government. Well we hear alot of bad news about land disputes in Timor-Leste, but this one seems to have had something of a happy ending. Manatuto is also proving to be something of a district of possibilities.
Some weeks ago one of our staff named Eduardo da Costa took the well known Timorese photographer Lirio Fonseca on a fishing trip around the country. What were they fishing for? They were after some big game – they were looking for photos of new, unique and important business ventures in Timor-Leste.
They came back with a big haul. One of the largest being in Manatuto – at the site of the above mentioned land dispute.
It seems that an electronics assembly plant has opened up in Manatuto. Frankly, when I heard this was the plan I was more than a little skeptical, but it turns out I was more than a little wrong.
From what I am told this multi-million dollar investment already employs some 300 people, and there are possibilities that the facility’s labour force may rise to as much as 3,000. Now those are some pretty serious numbers when you consider that only a few years ago the Asian Development Bank (ADB) was reporting that the formal economy was only creating 400 new jobs a year.
As you will see from the below gallery of photos the labour force is primarily women – which is in and of itself good news as well, with lots of interesting social ramifications. One has to wonder what other ventures are being planned around the country. The days of saying Timor-Leste’s economy is largely unproductive may thankfully be coming to an end. Although with a success comes challenges. For example, will these women and future employees have decent working conditions? But for the time being enjoy the photos and continue dreaming.
Another job for our Business Verification team… You will find this on our Timor-Leste Business Portal, maintained in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism Commerce and Industry pretty quick. In the meantime you can find them via timor-leste[at]pdtglobal.org.
The full photo gallery is on our Facebook Fanpage.
The Peace Dividend Marketplace project is currently funded by AusAID, eni, the Arsenault Family Foundation, and the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.