Subject: AFP: ADB to give 1.2 million dollars aid to East Timor

Agence France Presse

October 3, 2003 Friday

ADB to give 1.2 million dollars aid to East Timor

JAKARTA, Oct 3

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Friday it will give 1.2 million dollars to East Timor next year to improve the country's economy and public infrastructure.

The grant is aimed at building local capacity for economic and financial management, improving public infrastructure to support private sector growth, and to generate income at the community level, the bank said in a statement.

"While the country is not borrowing any funds, ADB's technical assistance is crucial for Timor's overall advisory and institutional capacity building," the statement said.

East Timor was Asia's poorest country upon independence in May 2002. Half the population lacks any formal education, youth unemployment is high and two out of five people live on less than 55 cents a day.

It was occupied between 1975 and 1999 by Indonesia, after Portugal had abandoned the territory to independence movements while remaining the officially recognized administrator under international law.

Thousands were killed in East Timor in fighting between elements for and against independence, and forces loyal to Indonesia supported by Indonesian troops were accused of widespread crimes against humanity.

About 80 percent of the infrastructure in East Timor, which has about 800,000 inhabitants, was destroyed in the fighting.

vt/tn/bmm


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