Major New Education, Water Projects to Help Build Timor-Leste’s Human Capital


The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved two new projects totaling over US$48 million for Timor-Leste aimed at addressing some of the country’s most pressing human capital needs. Following the recent Country Partnership Framework 2020-24, the new projects will deliver critical improvements in water and sanitation, and in education – particularly school and classroom infrastructure.

The US$25 million Timor-Leste Water Supply and Sanitation Project will benefit up to 25,000 people in Timor-Leste’s second largest city, Baucau. The project will support the Ministry of Public Works to construct and ensure efficient and sustainable management of a centralized water supply system to provide treated drinking water with connections to household premises, businesses, schools and community services. Similarly, a treatment plant and community-based sewerage  schemes will be built for collection and treatment of domestic wastewater. With a US$5 million contribution from the government of Timor-Leste, the project will deliver a sustainable, safer clean water and sanitation system by 2026.

The five-year, US$23.55 million Basic Education Strengthening and Transformation (BEST) project aims to deliver new and upgraded classrooms, school facilities and higher teaching quality. Implemented by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, more than 60 percent of the funding will finance the construction and rehabilitation of classrooms and schools and will improve infrastructure planning to ensure new works meet minimum standards.  The BEST project will support the government’s effort to improve educational outcomes, benefitting 150,000 students, teachers, and administrators by delivering transformational changes in the learning environment through improved school infrastructure, effective teachers’ training programs and management systems. The project will be financed with a US$15 million concessional credit from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) and a US$8.55 million grant from the Global Partnership for Education.

“Providing clean water and sanitation and high-quality education for all will be critical for achieving poverty reduction, fostering human capital, and building a more peaceful and prosperous future for Timor-Leste.” said Macmillan Anyanwu, World Bank Country Representative for Timor-Leste. “These projects are part of a coordinated World Bank Group effort to support the Human Capital development agenda in Timor-Leste. They are significant commitments that will contribute to reducing poverty and promoting shared prosperity.”

Since 2000, the World Bank has helped the government of Timor-Leste to rebuild national infrastructure, stabilize the economy and strengthen government institutions. In 2019 the World Bank Group approved a new Country Partnership Framework which includes support for improved human capital, service delivery and economic diversification, investments in connective infrastructure and reforms in public financial management.


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