Timor-Leste Country Report
Following an unscheduled dissolution of the minority-Fretilin government in January 2018, fresh parliamentary elections were held in May 2018. The Alliance of Change for Progress opposition coalition, led by former prime minister and president Xanana Gusmão, received 49% of the popular vote and thus 34 of the unicameral legislature's 65 seats, forming a majority government. Despite increasingly depleted state resources from the Bayu-Undan gas field, the new government is likely to increase public investments in large infrastructure projects and subsidy programmes. Developing a commercialisation plan for the Greater Sunrise gas field with Australia and other private entities is vital to stabilising Timor-Leste's state revenues beyond the one-year outlook.
East Timor's open attitude towards foreign investment is negated by a shortage of skills, governance issues, and inadequate infrastructure. The government regards infrastructure improvement as a high priority, and major road links from the capital Dili to Liquica and Gleno, as well as the north-south link between Manatuto and Natarbora underwent major repairs in 2015. However, power and telecommunications are expensive and unreliable. Labour costs are comparatively high, despite a surplus of unskilled labour and a young workforce.
Terrorism risks in East Timor are low. The killing of leading political dissident Mauk Moruk in August 2015 reduced the risk of armed attacks by domestic groups. There are no known terrorist groups operating in the country, although the borders with Indonesia have been the source of other security threats such as smuggling.
There is a low risk of war between East Timor and its neighbours, Indonesia and Australia. There has been no major security incident on the border between Indonesia and East Timor since the latter's independence, and a war between Indonesia and East Timor is very unlikely. East Timor's ties relations with Australia are also generally good, despite disputes over maritime boundaries in the Timor Sea and disagreements over oil and gas revenue. These disagreements are discussed diplomatically, and there are no indications that they will lead to any form of military conflict.
There is a moderate risk of gang-related fighting in cities such as Dili, Baucau, and Viqueque. The government banned martial arts gangs in September 2013, but it is unlikely that the problem will disappear entirely. Occasional protests against corruption, or regarding the Australia-East Timor maritime dispute, can lead to fighting with police, with protesters throwing rocks at vehicles and security personnel. There is a low risk of labour protests.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission and over one year of age.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Japanese Encephalitis: For stays of longer than one month in a rural zone during the rainy season (for children over the age of one). The vaccine is administered in a local medical facility.
Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Timor-Leste is situated in an active seismic zone and as such is prone to earthquakes, such as the one along the coast on December 2016 (6,6 on Richter scale).
Finally, foreign visitors should take into account the fact that roads are poorly maintained and accidents occur frequently. It is therefore best to avoid driving at night.
Timor-Leste's climate is tropical with steady temperatures throughout the year and high levels of humidity. There are two seasons: the wet monsoon (November to March) and the dry monsoon (April to October).
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