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In-depth Country Risk Report - Timor-Leste

Maplecroft’s new Country Risk Report on Timor-Leste examines the political, legal and regulatory, social and environmental risks to the oil and gas sector.

Two rounds of peaceful elections in 2012 are a strong indicator that political stability has returned to the country after years of volatility since independence. Since obtaining formal independence from Indonesia in 2002, the country, which suffered extreme violence under Indonesian occupation (1975-1999), has been hit by periodic waves of instability. Presidential elections in March/April 2012 and parliamentary elections in July were widely regarded as free and fair, underlining improved stability and democratic governance. In comparison to the 2007 polls, in which hundreds of houses were torched and two people died, there were only a few minor incidents and the United Integrated Mission in East Timor (UNMIT) has begun to withdraw from Timor-Leste.

The demise of Ramos-Horta and emergence of the Ruak-Gusmao axis represent a historical shift in political power and reflects a popular mandate to focus on socio economic development and maximise revenues from the oil and gas industry. The oil and gas industry remains the priority for the government in respect of the Timorese economy. However, according to the report, considerable opportunities also exist in the untapped mining, agribusiness and manufacturing sectors and there is significant scope for expansion of the non-energy sector.

The human rights situation in Timor-Leste has improved significantly since independence, and efforts are underway to enshrine these rights in legislation and facilitate their effective implementation. In practice there are several areas in which rights remain unprotected, particularly due to the large informal workforce (which comprises over 80% of the total workforce) and rampant poverty, which affects more than 40% of the population. It remains uncertain whether the government has sufficient institutional capacity to effectively implement and enforce this new national environmental legislation, which came into effect in July 2012.

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Jason McGeown, Head of Communications
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press@maplecroft.com

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