Timor-Leste Signs Second ADB Loan for Road Network Upgrades

A $50 million ADB loan will help fund a national plan to create a network of reliable, safe roads in Timor-Leste.

DILI, TIMOR-LESTE – Asian Development Bank (ADB) Deputy Director General of the Pacific Department Noriko Ogawa and Timor-Leste’s Finance Minister Emilia Pires today signed a $50 million loan to upgrade the road linking Manatuto and Natarbora, part of a national plan to create a network of reliable, safe roads to increase passenger and cargo traffic while reducing travel times.

“This project will greatly improve national connectivity and boost linkages to and from the south coast, promoting economic development and creating better access to health, education and other essential services,” said Ms. Ogawa.

The Timor-Leste Road Network Upgrading Sector Project will upgrade and climate-proof about 117 kilometers of roads and help prepare detailed designs for another 169 km of national roads. About 80% of the laborers involved in the road’s rehabilitation will be hired from the local area, while a minimum of 30% will be women. The project is accompanied by safety awareness training and programs in HIV/AIDS prevention.

Timor-Leste’s core road network comprises 1,426 km of national roads and 869 km of district roads. About 3,000 km of rural roads provide access to villages and more remote areas. Only about 8% of core roads have been assessed as being in fair condition. Another 70% have been judged to be in poor condition, which is hampering the country’s ability to fully emerge from fragility.

The World Health Organization estimates that 190 lives are lost each year to accidents on Timor-Leste’s roads.

Climate resilience and long-term road maintenance strategies have all been built into the project, which is in line with ongoing efforts of ADB and other development partners to support upgrading of the entire national road network.

The project will be implemented over six years. The loans comprise $40 million from ADB’s Ordinary Capital Resources and $10 million from ADB’s Special Funds resources. The project is in line with efforts by the World Bank Group and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA improve Timor-Leste’s national road network.