Timor Leste, independent since 1999, started off with little to no infrastructure such as a national power grid, bridges, roads, reliable communications or water supply systems. Even though Timor-Leste has been consistently achieving two digit growth rates for the past decade, the country is still ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world (GDP per capita in 2015 being US$1,134.42, #182 out of 215 countries). The state of infrastructure in the country also has room for improvement (ranking #133 out of 144 countries in the GCI Infrastructure Index of 2014-2015).
The country’s PPP Unit in the Ministry of Finance is responsible for assessing and implementing PPP contracts in collaboration with other relevant public entities. It analyses the value-for-money of PPPs versus public procurement and assesses the bankability of projects, supports the negotiation of contractual terms, leads the procurement process, and monitors the implementation of PPPs.
In 2011 the Government created the “Fundo de Infraestruturas (FI)” to fund key infrastructure projects with a budget above US$1 million. Funds from the FI will also be used for PPP projects.
A PPP statute was enacted in September 2012.Overall, the PPP Decree-Law constitutes the first effort at a statutory framework for the implementation and development of PPP projects in Timor Leste and is aimed at facilitating the employment of long-term sustainable infrastructure projects. The basic legal framework is already in place and reflects the government’s efforts to overcome some of the hurdles and pitfalls that are commonly associated with foreign investments in the country.
As of 2016, PPPs have been implemented in the energy, transport and ICT sectors. In June 2016, the government and a private operator signed the concession contract for the new port of Tibar Bay. Additionally, the IFC is currently advising the government of Timor-Leste to enhance diagnostic services in the health sector by implementing a PPP.
The Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) is published in the Global Competitiveness Report and assesses the competitiveness landscape of 140 economies. The GCI Infrastructure Score is a component of the overall index and covers transport, electricity and telephony infrastructure.