Timor-Leste and ADB

ADB’s country partnership strategy for Timor-Leste, 2023–2027 focuses on building climate-resilient infrastructure and basic services, and strengthening the enabling environment for economic diversification.

ADB's Work in Timor-Leste

Following deep economic contraction in 2020 and sluggish growth in 2021 during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and historical floods, economic recovery began in 2022 in Timor-Leste and continued in 2023. Inflationary pressure has been high since 2022 with increased food and fuel prices. A combination of prudent management and effective use of petroleum revenues, increasing investments in human capital and infrastructure, an enabling business environment, institutional strengthening, and improving public service delivery are essential for sustainable growth. 

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been supporting Timor-Leste since its independence with a focus on removing infrastructure bottlenecks and institutional constraints to open the way for more sustainable development. ADB’s expanded portfolio is now supporting the Government of Timor-Leste’s efforts to foster a conducive environment for private sector development and economic diversification. 

As of 31 December 2023, ADB has committed 80 public sector loans, grants, and technical assistance totaling $756 million to Timor-Leste. ADB’s current sovereign portfolio in Timor-Leste includes 14 loans worth $574.5 million.

Cumulative sovereign loan and grant disbursements to Timor-Leste amount to $289.12 million. These were financed by regular and concessional ordinary capital resources, the Asian Development Fund, and other special funds.

Historically, ADB’s portfolio focused on transport projects, with the majority concentrated on the rehabilitation or upgrading of national roads to improve urban–rural connectivity. Since 2021, the portfolio has expanded to include projects in the transport, water and urban development, and energy sectors.

ADB signed a $127-million loan in 2022 to help provide safe and reliable water in Dili, the capital city. The project will expand and improve water services through climate-resilient infrastructure for water treatment and a new water supply system, delivering potable water to 36,200 households and commercial establishments. In 2021, ADB signed a $135-million loan for the expansion of Dili’s Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport, a $47-million loan to bring reliable water services to 62,000 people in three municipal capitals, and a $35-million loan to modernize the power distribution system.

ADB is a leading partner for Timor-Leste’s regional cooperation and is supporting its accession to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and membership in the World Trade Organization. Technical assistance and grants have also been provided in several areas including support for rural development and food security, development of gender-responsive judicial systems, emergency assistance, capacity building, and public sector management.

Operational challenges. Timor-Leste is classified by ADB as a country in a fragile and conflict-affected situation. Projects face implementation challenges involving institutional and human resource capacity and interagency coordination. The capacity for medium-term public investment planning and for designing and implementing large projects is still developing. ADB is helping the government ensure project readiness, strengthen government processes, improve service delivery, and enhance the technical capacities of government agencies.

ADB is also working with the government to ensure that systems are in place for the operation and maintenance of new infrastructure. Sound legal, regulatory, and institutional frameworks are needed to guarantee sustainable and efficient operations. ADB provides capacity building support for infrastructure project management and workforce and skills development.

Photo: Asian Development Bank
The Coffee and Agroforestry Livelihood Improvement Project conducted the nursery training activities for the field coordinators and the agriculture extension officers at village level. The plant seedlings took place in Suco Deudet, Bobonaro Municipality. Black soil was sieved and prepared to fill-in into the polybag. Photo: ADB

Knowledge Work

ADB has supported capacity development in several of its projects through training and has embedded support within the government and other state entities. The country knowledge plan focuses on the provision of knowledge products directly supporting the preparation of pipeline projects, delivery of projects, and capacity and skills development. Further knowledge work will include sector studies, project scoping assessments, technical studies, and tool kits.

ADB regularly meets with nongovernment organizations and other stakeholders to share information on projects and knowledge work. ADB has been collaborating with various bilateral and multilateral agencies including the Australian federal government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the European Union, Japan International Cooperation Agency, World Bank, International Financial Corporation, and the United Nations.

Shareholding and Voting Power

Number of Shares Held
1,050 (0.010% of total shares)

40,164 (0.302% of total membership, 0.464% of total regional membership)

*Overall capital subscription
$14.09 million

*Paid-in capital subscription

* United States dollar figures are valued at rate as of 31 December 2023.

ADB Governor: Santina José Rodrigues Ferreira Viegas Cardoso
ADB Alternate Governor: Vacant
ADB Director: Justine Sicat (Philippines)
ADB Alternate Director: Noor Ahmed (Pakistan)
ADB Director’s Advisors: Juvy Danofrata (Philippines) and Erdenetuya Darinchuluun (Mongolia)


Financing Partnerships

Financing partnerships enable ADB’s financing partner governments or their agencies, multilateral financing institutions, and private organizations to participate in financing ADB projects. The additional funds provided may be in the form of loans and grants, technical assistance, and nonsovereign cofinancing. 

Cumulative cofinancing commitments in Timor-Leste: 

  • Sovereign cofinancing: $148.82 million for 6 investment projects and $15.38 million for 8 technical assistance projects since 2007


Future Directions

ADB operations are guided by the country partnership strategy for Timor-Leste, 2023–2027, which provides a strategy for economic recovery, inclusive development, and climate resilience. The strategy is aligned with Timor-Leste’s Strategic Development Plan 2011–2030 and ADB’s Strategy 2030

ADB’s program in Timor-Leste will continue to emphasize knowledge systems, innovation, and technical expertise to accompany traditional financial support. The strategy will continue to guide the development of climate-resilient infrastructure while supporting efforts to diversify the economy and develop a sustainable non-petroleum sector through improving the delivery of basic services and strengthening the business environment. The strategy will also guide efforts to diversify into agriculture, education, private sector development, and information and communications technology, and it will continue to support regional cooperation and trade.

This article was originally published in the ADB and Timor-Leste: Fact Sheet. Updated yearly, this ADB Fact Sheet provides concise information on ADB's operations in the country and contact information.


Timor-Leste Resident Mission
Rua Cabo Verde No 16, Posto Administrativo
Vera Cruz, Suco Motael, Aldeia Halibur
Dili, Timor-Leste
Tel: +670 332 4801
Fax: +670 332 4132

Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Finance Tower
Dili, Timor-Leste
Tel: +670 333 9646

Latest on Timor-Leste

Globalization and Equality: A Cross-Country Analysis

| Publication

Globalization and Equality: A Cross-Country Analysis

Developing countries should improve their foreign direct investment (FDI) environment to attract FDI and upgrade the quality of unskilled labor.

Assessment of the Legal Status of Sexual and Gender Minorities in 17 Countries in Asia and the Pacific

| Publication

Assessment of the Legal Status of Sexual and Gender Minorities in 17 Countries in Asia and the Pacific

This report highlights how sexual and gender minorities in countries across Asia and the Pacific face discrimination and violence, assesses the legal barriers impacting their lives, and shows how policy reforms can increase inclusion and economic opportunities.

Asian Development Bank and Timor-Leste: Fact Sheet

| Publication

Asian Development Bank and Timor-Leste: Fact Sheet

ADB has been supporting Timor-Leste since its independence with a focus on removing infrastructure bottlenecks and institutional constraints to open the way for more sustainable development.

Fiscal Incidence in Timor-Leste: Impact of Taxation and Public Expenditure on Poverty and Inequality

| Publication

Fiscal Incidence in Timor-Leste: Impact of Taxation and Public Expenditure on Poverty and Inequality

Fiscal policy changes can significantly affect poverty and income inequality. Incidence analysis of taxation and expenditures on different population segments allows governments to assess the impact of current policies and evaluate policy options.