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Timor-Leste (East Timor)

After independence in 2002, the Democratic Republic of East Timor (Timor-Leste) quickly emerged out of a legacy of endemic poverty, conflict, and colonial exploitation. However, significant challenges remain for the nation to realize its ambition of creating a democratic and prosperous society in the next 20 years. Centuries of Portuguese colonial rule were marked by the systemic exploitation of natural resources, with little social or economic benefit to the native population. Indonesia’s subsequent 24-year occupation resulted in significant portions of the population perishing because of military operations and forced migrations, and the widespread destruction of infrastructure at the end of occupation. This led to Timor-Leste entering onto the global stage as the poorest nation in Asia, and one of the poorest nations in the world.

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