16 April 2004

Old Friends: Mozambique and Timor Leste

The Head Heeb has an interesting post about the especially close ties between Mozambique and East Timor, going back to 1975.
The foreign minister of East Timor is in Maputo laying the groundwork for the first Timorese embassy in Africa. Mozambique may seem an unlikely first choice, but its relative lack of political and economic clout is balanced by its longstanding ties of solidarity with East Timor....

In some ways, the post-independence relationship between the two countries is even more remarkable than what came before, because it illustrates how even one of the poorest countries on earth can be a donor. There are other ways to attack a problem besides throwing money at it - sharing experience and technical personnel, or providing willing hands to get the job done - and a nation need not be rich to aid other countries in these ways. Such aid often has a political purpose, like the Cuban doctors that are ubiquitous in many Third World countries, but it can make a real difference; sometimes, in fact, it can make more of one than a boondoggle project that serves mainly to fill a corrupt dictator's coffers.

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