What many commentators fail to acknowledge is that despite its
current difficulties East Timor has come a long way since gaining
independence in 1999. The blueprint for Timor's achievements is the
National Development
Plan, a detailed document developed in 2001-2 by the Planning
Commission, under the leadership of Mari Alkatiri, through a process of
national popular consultation (led by Xanana Gusmao) in the
pre-independence transitional period.

It has informed subsequent
multilateral donor efforts and national policy initiatives, most
recently through a detailed "sector investment program" analysis and
renewed priority setting, carried out through the Ministry of Planning
and Finance. Of course this may be seen by some as evidence of that
Marxist curse of "planning"; for which associated coordination of
government priorities and matching donor resources has been overseen by that other Marxist agency, the World Bank.