Peace Dividend Trust’s Business Matchmaking team traveled to Kupang, West Timor or NTT province of Indonesia a few weeks ago to negotiate on the cross border trade between East Timor and West. Augmenting this traditional link between Timor-Lest and West Timor will contribute to increasing the trade over the border of the two countries, as well as the strength of both economies.
The team was led by Mr. Ilidio Ximenes da Costa – PDM-TL’s Deputy Director, PR Representative and Matchmaking Associate, and with support from Timor-Leste’s Consulate in Kupang was able to secure meetings with several key stakeholders. The team first met with Mr. Arnold Kolly Mally from Yayasan Lola Lakaan (a local foundation). Throughout the meeting, Mr. Mally expressed his interest in buying Timorese products such as cattle, mung beans, soy beans, copra, seaweed and vanilla. He also stated that he has plans to invest in Timor-Leste’s economy by opening a shop to sell motorbike spare parts. Mr. Mally has also previously purchased cattle in Oecusse via his organization’s branch in Wini and in partnership with PDT.
In general, all the institutions and organizations that the team had meeting with were impressed with PDT’s program on trans-border transactions. The program itself aims to link entrepreneurs in both countries to foster economic growth and trade. Organizations such as Lola Lakaan and LPMTI (another local NGO) said that they are ready to support the program by helping to find potential investors and buyers in Kupang, Surabaya, and Sulawesi. Lola Lakaan is planning to hold an international conference on trade and investments in the border region in the near future.
The team’s tour also observed two programs that are running in Kupang: One Stop Shop (OSS) and the Resources Centre of Regional Development Planning Board (Bappeda). The programs have been developed by AusAID and the Asia Foundation, and may be quite valuable if established in Timor-Leste. Throughout the tour, the team distributed informational lists regarding Timor-Leste potential suppliers of cattle, mung beans, soy beans, etc. The team also distributed PDT stickers, brochures, and business cards advocating the “Buy Local Build Timor-Leste” campaign in NTT, Indonesia.