Mr. David Morrison, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) recently visited Timor-Leste for the first time since he joined UNCDF in July 2008. The country is one of the 38 Least Developed Countries where UNCDF is striving to improve the lives of the people through innovative approaches.
In Timor-Leste, UNCDF has been supporting two joint programmes in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP): the Local Governance Support Programme (LGSP) and the Inclusive Finance for the Under-Served Economy (INFUSE).
During his visit, Mr. Morrison traveled to Manatuto, one of the eight pilot districts where UNCDF, through the LGSP, supports people’s access to infrastructure and basic services, while building local capacities for public service provision and small-scale infrastructure projects preparing local authorities for decentralization.
Mr. Morrison’s trip to Manatuto included a tour to a construction site of an irrigation canal, one of the infrastructure projects, which is being funded by the government of Timor-Leste and implemented with technical support of the LGSP.
He also visited Tuba Rai Metin, one of two Microfinance Institutions that INFUSE is currently supporting, that has also a branch office in Manatuto where they provide financial services to women’s client groups to improve their lives and develop their business.
The Executive Secretary, accompanied by Mr. David Jackson, Regional Technical Advisor from UNCDF in Bangkok, met with key stakeholders and counterparts from both UNCDF programmes including the Minister of Economy and Development, Mr. João Gonçalves, who is working closely with INFUSE, and the Minister of State Administration and Territorial Management (MSATM), Dr. Arcângelo Leite, who spoke about the progress of the establishment of the municipalities in Timor-Leste.
Minister Arcângelo Leite took the opportunity to thank UNCDF for its support to the decentralization process. "I would like to express my gratitude for the assistance UNCDF has been providing to the government of Timor-Leste as our closest partner since 2003 and I hope that we can continue to work together, especially in this crucial moment, with the set-up of the municipalities", stated the Minister.
During his visit, Mr. Morrison reaffirmed UNCDF’s strong commitment in supporting poverty reduction in Timor-Leste. "The purpose of this visit was to learn about the progress made in local development and in micro finance and figure out ways to improve our support to both of programmes. I was very pleased with the results we saw and the prospects for the development of Timor-Leste”, stated the Executive Secretary.