Asia-Pacific

May 18, 2012

East Timor 10 years on and the two saving graces

On Sunday, East Timor will celebrate 10 years of independence. As a nation born from the ashes of destruction, its first decade has been marked by problems and set-backs.

Professor Damien Kingsbury

Crikey international affairs commentator

On Sunday, East Timor will celebrate 10 years of independence. As a nation born from the ashes of destruction, its first decade has been marked by problems and setbacks.

3 comments

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3 thoughts on “East Timor 10 years on and the two saving graces

  1. michael r james

    “If East Timorese children do have stunted, they are much less likely to die of starvation.”

    Things may have improved but the average fertility rate is still >6 children per woman; and being an average, there are still families with 12 children. After the unrest birthrates went up and modern practice means more survive childhood but that is creating a problem for the future unless they get it under control. In a deeply Catholic country….

    Whether Ramos-Horta was being political he was correct. It confirms that aid money is often useless. Having said that I feel Australia could be playing a much more constructive role in helping one of our poorest neighbours.

    http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/07/13/we-have-a-shameful-record-when-it-comes-to-timor-aid/
    We have a shameful record when it comes to Timor aid
    by Michael R James Tuesday, 13 July 2010

  2. Gavin Moodie

    There is now a well established pattern. A poor country has high fertility but also high infant mortality resulting in a relatively stable population. Improved health reduces infant mortality but social attitudes don’t change as quickly and the continuing high fertility results in a high population growth. After a generation or two fertility falls and the population tends towards equilibrium, altho at a higher level than previously.

    If you want to reduce a country’s population growth you first reduce infant mortality and then you educate the people, concentrating on women.

  3. Liz45

    50% of children are malnourished, and 70% of the population is unemployed. Almost all fruit and vegetables, fruit juice etc is imported, while East Timor has the climate to grow most of its own food. Importing such necessities adds to the price.

    Are we still stealing their oil and gas? Or most of it? Shameful!

    I understand that some politicians are abusing their positions and going on ‘study tours’ etc? When money is scarce and children are almost starving, I’d hardly find this progress. Why isn’t Australia helping more? That’s where our foreign aid should/could go – to help them set up areas to grow their own food at least!

    How many of the kids go to school? Educate the women and the size of families will decrease – it’s been shown to be a fact in other countries.

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