Skip to main content

Development assistance in Timor-Leste

Flag of Timor-Leste

Economic recovery in Timor-Leste

Australia is supporting a more resilient and diversified economy and helping to enhance connectivity in Timor-Leste. We are supporting Timor-Leste’s national systems for public financial management and regulatory reforms for better governance. This will help Timor-Leste to more effectively support its people in COVID-19 recovery and beyond.

Australia will invest in quality infrastructure and connectivity as part of Timor-Leste’s economic recovery. We are partnering with the Timor-Leste Government to support labour-intensive rural road works and village-level infrastructure grants, helping to connect people in rural areas to services and economic opportunities. We will also increase investment in Timor-Leste’s national economic infrastructure through transformational projects including a fibre optic submarine cable and proposed upgrades to Dili’s international airport.

We are investing in education through improving teaching quality and school learning, and strengthening technical and vocational education institutions. Our Australia Awards scholarships and short courses will help to build a pipeline of highly qualified and respected professionals and leaders. Across our programs, we will target increased skills development and employment opportunities for women and people with a disability. As borders reopen, we will support pathways to labour mobility, especially for women.

Our support to private sector growth will continue, especially in tourism, coffee and other agricultural products, to manage the disruptions caused by COVID-19 and improve the long-term prospects for trade and economic growth.

Governance for Development

$72 million, 2013-21

Australia's Governance for Development program helps Timor-Leste government agencies to develop good policy and improve government systems. It also helps civil society engage with government decision making. The program works in a range of important areas, including public financial management, economic policy, enabling business and investment, public service administration, law reform and financial services. Australia's assistance helps the government and civil society to facilitate economic development and leads to better service delivery.

The program is implemented by Cardno Emerging Markets. A second phase of the program commenced in July 2017.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Governance for Development program – Investment Design 2013 Investment Design
Governance for Development program – Monitoring and Learning System 2015 M&E Framework
Gender-responsive budgeting policy note – Mainstreaming gender into the public financial management reform 2017 Policy Note
Review of Australia’s contribution to private sector development in Timor-Leste and Management Response 2018 Review
Governance for Development program – Annual Report (2017-18) 2018 Annual Report
Governance for Development program – Annual Report (2018-19) 2019 Annual Report
Governance for Development program – Annual Report (2019-20) 2020 Annual Report
Governance for Development program – Review and Management Response 2020 Review

PARTISIPA: Partnership to Strengthen Village Development and Municipal Administration

Up to $49 million, 2014-2021

The Australian Government supports the Government of Timor-Leste to improve socio-economic development, especially in rural areas. Timor-Leste's National Village Development Program (Programa Nasional Desenvolvimentu Suku – PNDS) has been an important mechanism for accelerating community development and a key feature of our development partnership, providing annual grants of around USD50,000 to communities across Timor-Leste for small scale infrastructure projects. These projects include building or refurbishing water systems, irrigation channels, bridges, motorbike paths or market places, as well as refurbishing of schools or health posts. The program uses a community-driven development approach that empowers local communities to lead the decision-making process regarding their projects, and guides communities to build and manage their infrastructure.

To date through PNDS, communities have built more than 2,000 community infrastructure projects at low cost with more than 90 per cent rated as being of good or excellent technical quality. In July 2020 we provided $7 million in direct budget support to the Government of Timor-Leste to cushion the emerging socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, earmarked for additional community grants through PNDS – this will provide 152 additional villages with the opportunity to build a piece of community infrastructure they have prioritised.

In July 2019, we expanded our support for rural development to provide additional support to Timor-Leste’s municipalities to strengthen the delivery of decentralised services with a particular focus on the operation and maintenance of rural water supply systems.

The next phase of the program has been designedand will include an ongoing focus on the implementation of PNDS, alongside this expanded support for sub-national service delivery.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
National Program for Village Development Support Program (PNDSSP)—Investment Design Summary 2013 Design summary
National Program for Village Development Support Program (PNDSSP)—Investment Design Summary (Tetum) 2013 Design summary
The Economic Impacts of PNDS Infrastructure Projects 2016 Study report
Technical Evaluation of Infrastructure 2016 2016 Technical evaluation
National Program for Village Development Support Program (PNDS-SP): mid-term review final report and management response 2017 Review report and management response
Timor-Leste National Program for Village Development (PNDS): Technical Evaluation of Infrastructure 2017 2017 Evaluation
Timor-Leste National Program for Village Development Support Program (PNDS-SP) Annual Progress Report (2016-2017) 2017 Progress report
Timor-Leste National Program for Village Development (PNDS): The Economic Impacts of PNDS Infrastructure Projects 2018 Study
Timor-Leste National Program for Village Development Support Program (PNDS-SP) 6-monthly presentation (July-December 2018) 2019 Presentation
PARTISIPA Interim Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Plan for 2019-2021 2020 M&E Plan
PARTISIPA 6-monthly presentation (July-December 2019) 2020 Presentation
Australia-Timor-Leste Partnership for Village Development and Municipal Administration (PARTISIPA) – 2021-2031 – Design Document 2020 Design

Roads for Development Support Program

Phase I $36 million, 2012-2016 and Phase II up to $26 million, 2017-2021

Through the Roads for Development Support Program, Australia is helping the Timor-Leste Government to rehabilitate and maintain the country's rural roads. Better roads will make it easier for people to access health centres, schools and markets, and help farmers earn sustainable incomes.

The program aims to support the Timor-Leste Government to plan, budget and contract road works through local private sector contractors. Where possible, labour-intensive approaches are used to maximise employment opportunities for people in rural areas. The program is implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Phase II of Australia's assistance will build on the work of the first phase in supporting the Timor-Leste Government to better coordinate its road asset management efforts, effectively deliver rural road works through increased capacity at the national and municipal levels, and continue to build the capacity of local private sector contractors.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Roads for Development – Phase I (2012-16) Design 2011 Design
Roads for Development – Phase I Mid-Term Review and Management Response 2014, 2015 Mid-term review and management response
Roads for Development – Phase II Investment Concept Note 2015 Concept note
Roads for Development – Phase II (2017-20) Design Update Annex 2016 Design
Roads for Development – Phase 1 Final Evaluation 2017 End of program review
Roads for Development – Phase II Mid-Term Review and Management Response 2018 Mid-term review and management response

Market Development Facility

$18.1 million to Timor-Leste from 2013-2022

Australia's Market Development Facility (MDF) is a multi-country private sector development program operating in Fiji, Timor-Leste, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea. MDF supports businesses with innovative ideas to increase business performance, stimulate economic growth and ultimately provide benefits for the poor - as workers, producers and consumers. The goal of the MDF is to create additional sustainable employment and income for poor women and men in rural and urban areas.

A second phase of MDF commenced in 2017.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Timor-Leste Market Development Facility Phase II Investment Design 2016 Design
Kick-starting inclusive growth: Timor-Leste's Transition to a Post-Conflict, Post-Oil Economy 2017 Report
Market Development Facility Activity Completion Report 2017 Report

Related links

Market Development Facility

Workforce Development Program

Up to $20 million, 2014-2021

Australia's Workforce Development Program Timor-Leste aims to support the development of a skilled workforce to contribute to Timor-Leste’s post COVID-19 economic recovery. The program supports development of education and employment pathways including supporting scholarship opportunities for tertiary study in Australia; access to vocational training to help young people find employment; and supporting Timor-Leste to increase its participation in Australia's labour mobility programs, including the Seasonal Worker Programme and the Pacific Labour Scheme.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Workforce Development Program – Design   Design
Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Report 2016 Report
Timor-Leste Australia Alumni Engagement Strategy 2017-19 2017 Report
Workforce Development Strategic Review and Management Response 2018 Review
Workforce Development Program – Annual Report and Infographic (2019) 2019 Report
Workforce Development Program – Annual Report and Infographic (2020) 2020 Report

Related links

Basic education

The focus of Australia's basic education support in Timor-Leste is on improving learning outcomes, specifically literacy and numeracy in the early years, through building school leadership capacity, improved teacher practice and education sector policy and systems. A key focus is to support implementation of the Timor-Leste Ministry of Education's child-centred basic education curriculum and strengthening teaching practice.

Our support for basic education is implemented through the Partnership for Human Development. For further information, please see links related to this program under the Health Security Pillar.

Back to top