Dili, Aug 21, 2021 —The World Bank’s new Country Representative for Timor-Leste says the country is contending with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent natural disasters with great resolve.
Bernard Harborne, a British national, has been appointed as the World Bank’s new Country Representative for Timor-Leste, starting 5 August 2021. He will oversee a portfolio of approximately US$300 million of investments across infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, and disaster risk management, together with essential analytical work supporting the Government of Timor-Leste’s development program.
Mr. Harborne commended the government and people of Timor-Leste for making significant progress in key areas such as addressing the pandemic, vaccination coverage as well as responding to the humanitarian needs of the population in the recent flood-crisis.
“A continued strong push to vaccinate the population will be essential for Timor-Leste to curb the impact of COVID19.,” said Mr. Harborne. “As for all of us, the pandemic is a wake-up call for Timor-Leste to take stock of its priorities such as strengthening its human capital and tackling poverty reduction.”
Mr. Harborne brings almost three decades of development policy and program management experience to Timor-Leste. Having worked for the United Nations and the United Kingdom Government, he joined the World Bank Group in 2004 and has since worked on strategic engagements in Africa, Central America, the Middle East, and South Asia. He served as Country Manager for Cote d’Ivoire from 2007-2008. Since then, he has worked extensively on crisis-affected countries in the areas of demobilization of ex-combatants, local and community development, and security sector reform.
“As a young, vital, and geographically important country, Timor-Leste is on the right path to alleviate poverty and achieve inclusive growth,” said Mr. Harborne. “A key priority for the World Bank will be to support the Government to transform the economy to be less reliant on limited oil resources and more sustainable in the long run.”
Since 2000, the World Bank has assisted the Government of Timor-Leste to rebuild national infrastructure, stabilize the economy, and strengthen institutions. This work includes support for improved service delivery and infrastructure in water and education, the construction of climate-resilient roads and transport infrastructure, as well as support for the development of non-oil economic development opportunities.
In East Asia Pacific: Matt Wilkinson (856) 2091938474, firstname.lastname@example.org