The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Timor-Leste in 2020 was great, and the ripple effects may be felt for years. Paradoxically, it was not that the population was directly impacted—indeed, the small half-island nation stands out with only a score or so of cases, and no deaths—but that the oil-dependent economy and the status of financial reserves took a major hit with the collapse of oil and stock prices. In the interest of managing the pandemic, the incumbent prime minister declared a state of emergency, withdrawing his earlier resignation and thus averting a political crisis. Still, as the new economic realities surrounding oil-related mega-infrastructure projects hit home, we see churn among the concerned ministers and technocrats, amid a major rethink of the way ahead, and with many of the choices invidious in the challenging new economic environment.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.