DILI, 03 october 2023 (TATOLI)— New Zealand’s Ambassador to Timor-Leste, Philip Hewitt, met with the Prime Minister, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, to discuss bilateral co-operation in key sectors.
New Zealand has been working with Timor-Leste to support the development of a growing economy. Bilateral relations between the two countries centered on the development of the private sector, education and training, as well as security and justice.
New Zealand has been supporting education in Timor-Leste, with the aim of improving knowledge, skills, and basic education. The support helps improve access to, and the quality of, early childhood education through partnerships with the Timorese Ministry of Education, UNICEF, and Grow Human Resources International Ltd through investments: of $12 million over five years to improve teacher training and support, learning materials and facilities, and parent education, of $1.9 million across two districts to improve learning and development outcomes of 5,200 children and 2,000 parents and investment on early childhood education models that can be replicated nationally.
The New Zealand government has awarded scholarships to hundreds of Timorese to pursue their higher education in New Zealand.
Recently, three Timorese officials from the Secretary of State for Electricity, Water, and Sanitation are currently studying in New Zealand on ASEAN Renewable Energy – Aotearoa New Zealand Manaaki Short-Term Training Scholarships.
Meanwhile, New Zealand is also committed to supporting Timor-Leste’s agricultural sector to boost the country’s economic growth and food security benefits.
New Zealand supported a five-year program with $14.4 million in activity through the National Cooperative Business Association/Cooperativa Cafe Timor to improve the production of coffee (both arabica and robusta) and cacao for rural farmers. It is expected that by the end of the activity, there will be around 6,000 coffee farms rehabilitated and 2,631 new coffee and cocoa farms established.
New Zealand also supported a $6 million five-year activity to strengthen aquaculture capability to meet nutrition, food security, and income generation targets with the Timor-Leste Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and NIWA.
Last month, Ambassador Philip Hewitt and the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Forestry launched a new tilapia hatchery in Colocau, Manufahi Municipality.
New Zealand is also committed to supporting Timor-Leste in law and justice, aiming to strengthen the country’s law and justice systems. The law and justice program helps promote safe and secure communities through a five-year,$14 million Timor-Leste Community Policing Support Programmed including, two New Zealand Police advisors and The Asia Foundation providing mentoring and capacity development support to the Timor-Leste National Police and the construction of police housing in 14 sucos (villages) to enable police to live and work within communities.
During the meeting, Ambassador Hewitt also conveyed to Prime Minister Gusmão New Zealand’s commitment to supporting Timor-Leste in the tourism sector.
In the security sector, Hari’i Hamutuk “build together” is an annual multi-country joint military exercise between the New Zealand Defence Force and the Timor-Leste National Defence Force, which focuses on exchanging skills in construction, infrastructure development, and equipment maintenance.
Journalist: José Belarmino De Sá
Editor: Filomeno Martins