[KNW] Korea expands support for East Timor development

The Korean government has built a central post office in the capital of East Timor and will be providing school books to the Southeast Asian country as part of a $10 million support plan, the Korea International Cooperation Agency said.

The Seoul-based international aid agency, or KOICA, funded the construction of a two-story post office in Dili, which was completed and opened to public last week.

KOICA Chairman Park Dae-won has been visiting the country since June 8 to oversee the completion of some of the projects Korea has been supporting.

Park Dae-won (right), president of the Korea International Cooperation Agency, poses with East Timor’s Education Minister Joao Cancio Freitas after signing an agreement on the provision of textbooks in Dili last week. KOICA

The agency said it has been spending, since 2001, up to $6.6 million in building six emergency medical facilities, $4 million in supporting the country’s education sector and another $1 million on inviting government officials for training sessions in Seoul.

The $2 million-post office is anticipated to greatly help the economical and social development of East Timor, Park said.

The KOICA chief also met with East Timor’s Education Minister Joao Cancio Freitas last week, officially signing a deal to provide students with textbooks written in their native tongue, the agency said.

Though Portuguese is an official language in East Timor, due to Portugal’s colonial rule of the country in the 16th century, nearly 86 percent of its people use the Tetum language. The lack of printing facilities in the country has made it difficult for schools to provide coordinated textbooks using the widely-used native language.

Korea will finish providing the textbooks to all public schools in East Timor by 2012, and also support the publication of a Tetum-language dictionary and building new printing facilities, KOICA said.

The KOICA, founded in 1991, has been supporting more than 45 developing countries with long-term projects and has provided various types of training to some 25,000 participants from 164 countries since its establishment.

By Shin Hae-in  (hayney@heraldm.com)

Source: The Korea Herald


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