Subject: Stimulus Money Must Help World's Poor - Timor President

Stimulus Money Must Help World's Poor - Timor President

Tue, Mar 17 2009, 05:49 GMT

Stimulus Money Must Help World's Poor - Timor President

DILI, East Timor (AFP)--Rich nations spending hundreds of billions of dollars stimulating their own crisis-hit economies should set aside 10% to tackle global poverty, East Timor's president said Tuesday.

Global economic turmoil has caused a rise in poverty worldwide, but this is being forgotten as developed countries work to keep banks and businesses afloat, Jose Ramos-Horta said in a speech to the country's parliament.

"At a time when the United States, Europe and Japan are pouring hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars into their financial systems in an attempt to salvage banks that poor management has led to the brink of collapse, poverty in the world seems increasingly overlooked," Ramos-Horta said.

"On behalf of the poor, I ask wealthy countries to give at least $0.10 for every $1 that they give out to banks and car manufacturers to alleviate poverty in those countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America that are being worst hit by the crisis."

The Nobel Laureate said East Timor is suffering from plummeting global oil prices but is also benefiting from cheaper imports.

Half of the country's one million people live on less than the local poverty line of $0.88 a day, Ramos-Horta said.

The half-island state, which won formal independence from Indonesia in 2002, is one of the world's poorest countries and is heavily dependent on natural gas exports.

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