East Timor Economy and Traditions

East Timor Economy and Traditions

How is the economy in East Timor?

As a country located in Asia according to pharmacylib, East Timor is the second poorest country in Asia after Afghanistan. Due to the many unrest and crises on the way to independence, the country’s economy barely had the opportunity to develop. That is why organizations like the UN mainly help the country with financial support so that it can stand on its own two feet one day.

At the moment, East Timor has to import a lot of goods in order to supply its own population. In 2014, the country mainly bought from neighboring Indonesia. But it sold very little itself. East Timor earned 13.8 million US dollars from the sale of coffee to the US and Germany. The coffee type Arabian Mocha produced in East Timor is of very good quality. The big coffee chain Starbucks is the biggest buyer.

Where do people work in East Timor?

In addition to the income from coffee growing, East Timor earns most of its money from fossil fuels. like petroleum and natural gas. But like many countries in Asia, it is extremely dependent on these limited raw materials. The government therefore wants to try to develop other areas of the economy. After South Sudan, East Timor is considered to be the country in the world that is most dependent on natural gas and oil. Only one in 100 people in East Timor even works in this area.

Most of them, almost 80 out of 100 inhabitants, work in forestry, agriculture and fishing. From an agricultural point of view, East Timor is actually a very rich and fertile country. The main crops are rice, corn, cassava, millet and sweet potatoes.

Unfortunately, the infrastructure is so poor that transportation is time-consuming and expensive. Therefore, the locals prefer to buy the rice imported from Vietnam and Thailand, because it is much cheaper. Because of the poor transport options, Timorese foods are also hardly competitive. So agricultural yields only make up about 30 percent of everything the land earns.

Far fewer people than in agriculture work in public service, administration, health and education. Namely just six out of 100 Timorese. There are also a few jobs in the diplomatic service, trade, finance and transportation.

What does the economic future of East Timor look like?

Out of 100 Timorese, 47 live below the poverty line. There is a shortage of skilled workers, because 42 out of 100 Timorese cannot read or write. In addition, there is high unemployment, especially among young people, of whom there are quite a few in East Timor. More than half of the population is younger than 15 years.

The former colonial power Portugal is trying to reduce this youth unemployment by drafting a special program for labor migration. Because according to Portuguese law, every Timorese born before May 20th, 2002 is considered a Portuguese citizen. This gives many young people the opportunity to find work in the EU, particularly in Ireland and the UK.

Many young people also move from the countryside to the cities, preferably to the capital Dili. As a result, however, the age distribution between rural and urban areas is very different. That is why the Timorese government is trying to create jobs across the country through investments. Above all, economic diversity is to be promoted and unequal social development to be stopped. In addition, the government has resolved to curb corruption in the country.

Hope in growing tourism

There is also a lot of hope in a new economic area in East Timor: tourism. Due to the wonderful landscape and the great beaches, East Timor is quite attractive for visitors, even if there are not very many of them yet. In order for the tourism industry to function, however, the infrastructure must be significantly improved, which would also benefit agriculture.

East Timor Economy

Typical East Timor

Traditions are very important in East Timor – why?

During the occupation by Portuguese and Indonesians, the East Timorese were repeatedly told how to live. Many have resisted by maintaining old traditions and practicing them to this day. This is how they managed to retain part of their identity. Since independence, in particular, people are particularly proud of these traditions, which also play a major role in everyday life.

Although almost all East Timorese are Catholics, they attach great importance to the customs of indigenous religions and often also believe in black magic and curses. So it is not at all uncommon for a businessman to sacrifice a chicken in the morning before work before pulling out his cell phone and heading to the capital Dili to his company.

Clothing as part of the traditions

These well-guarded traditions can also be found in the clothing of the East Timorese. The country is known for its tais, which are mostly woven by women. Men wear this garment as a scarf or skirt, women as dresses. What is particularly interesting about the Tais is that they look different and the style is different in each region. This allows the East Timorese not only to use the Tais to identify with their country, but also to show that they belong to their respective region.