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Portugal is East Timor’s third largest development partner in 2021

Portugal is East Timor’s third largest development partner in 2021, behind Australia and the European Union, according to the 2021 State Budget (OGE) bill.

The budget books, which accompany the OGE law proposal to which Lusa had access and which will start to be analyzed in the National Parliament, show that the total disbursement of development partners to Timor-Leste in 2021 is around US $ 164 million (139.6 million euros), including about 9.1 million dollars of direct budget support (AO) from the European Union.

Excluding this AO, total external support to East Timor is the lowest annual value ever and represents a drop of almost 16% compared to 2020.

The decline is partly due to the higher amount of international support given to East Timor this year – the highest figure since 2016 -, which was especially due to the additional expenditure on responding to the covid-19 pandemic.

The year 2020 ‘broke’ the downward trend in international support for the country that has been taking place in recent years.

Portuguese support for East Timor will be around US $ 18.2 million (€ 15.5 million) in 2021, or 11%, surpassed by Australian support, which amounts to US $ 54.2 million or € 46 million ( 33% of the total) and for EU support amounting to USD 21.7 million or EUR 23.1 million (including direct budget support) or around 13%.

This is followed by the United Nations with a support of around 12.9 million dollars or 11 million euros (7.9%) and the United States of America with an expected support of 11.1 million dollars or 9.45 million euros (6.8%).

EU AO money is used directly by beneficiary ministries in the public finance management program (Ministry of Finance with $ 4.03 million), malnutrition (Ministry of Health with 2.24 million) and decentralization (Ministry of Administration With 2.8 million).

Even if the funds are sent directly to the Government without being previously linked. Despite this, there is “a variable tranche that is dependent on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) agreed between the Ministry of Finance and the EU”.

With regard to projects, the one that will receive the most funding in 2021 is the “Ai ba Futuru – Partnership for a Sustainable Agroforestry Project (PASF), supported with US $ 8.9 million by Germany and the European Union.

The partnership between Australia and East Timor for Human Development in the Health Sector follows, with US $ 8.2 million, the project for Improving the Productivity of Sustainable Agriculture, with support from the World Bank of 7.2 million and the cooperation program with Australian NGOs in areas such as Agriculture, Health, Social Inclusion, Justice, Water and Sanitation, Public Sector Management and Good Governance and Education and Training, with 6.9 million.

Also noteworthy are the Portuguese support to the Reference Schools of East Timor, known as CAFE, with six million dollars and to the Portuguese School of Dili with a total financing of 5.5 million dollars.

In sectorial terms, around 57.7% of the support from East Timor partners goes to social capital projects, 25% to economic development, 12.6% to the institutional framework and 4.6% to infrastructure development.

The Ministries of Health with 34 projects, Education, Youth and Sports with 22, Agriculture and Fisheries with 14 and Higher Education, Science and Culture with 11 projects, are the ones that receive the most support.

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