WIT Press

How The Resource Curse Affects Urban Development In East Timor


Free (open access)





Page Range

495 - 504




292 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


I. M. Madaleno


East Timor is heavily reliant upon royalty and taxation revenues from petroleum and natural gas resources. Poor management of natural resources revenue has given ground for the nation to fall victim to the ‘resource curse’. This paper provides an overview of the country’s recent history whilst characterising its energy resources availability and case-studying a stressing and omnipresent urban problem: the persistence of internal displaced people (idps) living in refugee camps within Dili district. The objective of this contribution is to describe sample research conducted in the capital city of the first 21st century nation on Earth, so as to evaluate with empirical data how the wealth of natural resources is being used both to improve East Timorese daily lives and to regenerate the urban tissue. Keywords: resource curse, refugee camps, urban regeneration, Dili, East Timor. 1 Introduction Asian tigers – South Korea, Taiwan, Hong-Kong and Singapore – are resourcepoor countries. East Timor as well as Angola, both former Portuguese colonies, are resource-rich, exhibiting poor economic growth performances and displaying high levels of poverty (see table 1). The quality of local institutions is decisive, though, for there is no curse that cannot be lifted [1, 2]. It is widely accepted that good governance and a strong juridical and institutional framework tend to minimise the ill consequences of the mineral and energy resources privilege both on common people and on political leaders. Weak administration of revenues by contrast can lead to financial resources waste and environmental constrains on grounds of political mismanagement and corruption as on easy money availability excesses. East Timor became the first new nation of the 21st century


resource curse, refugee camps, urban regeneration, Dili, East Timor.