Photos of Timor-Leste

Introduction

Background

The island of Timor was actively involved in Southeast Asian trading networks for centuries, and by the 14th century exported aromatic sandalwood, slaves, honey, and wax. A number of local chiefdoms ruled the island in the early 16th century when Portuguese traders arrived, chiefly attracted by the relative abundance of sandalwood on Timor; by mid-century, the Portuguese had colonized the island. Skirmishing with the Dutch in the region eventually resulted in an 1859 treaty in which Portugal ceded the western portion of the island. Imperial Japan occupied Portuguese Timor from 1942 to 1945, but Portugal resumed colonial authority after the Japanese defeat in World War II. East Timor declared itself independent from Portugal on 28 November 1975 and was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces nine days later. It was incorporated into Indonesia in July 1976 as the province of Timor Timur (East Timor or Timor Leste). An unsuccessful campaign of pacification followed over the next two decades, during which an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 people died. In an August 1999 UN-supervised popular referendum, an overwhelming majority of the people of Timor-Leste voted for independence from Indonesia. However, in the next three weeks, anti-independence Timorese militias - organized and supported by the Indonesian military - commenced a large-scale, scorched-earth campaign of retribution. The militias killed approximately 1,400 Timorese and displaced nearly 500,000. Most of the country's infrastructure, including homes, irrigation systems, water supply systems, and schools, and nearly all of the country's electrical grid were destroyed. On 20 September 1999, Australian-led peacekeeping troops deployed to the country and brought the violence to an end. On 20 May 2002, Timor-Leste was internationally recognized as an independent state.

In 2006, internal tensions threatened the new nation's security when a military strike led to violence and a breakdown of law and order. At Dili's request, an Australian-led International Stabilization Force (ISF) deployed to Timor-Leste, and the UN Security Council established the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), which included an authorized police presence of over 1,600 personnel. The ISF and UNMIT restored stability, allowing for presidential and parliamentary elections in 2007 in a largely peaceful atmosphere. In 2008, rebels staged an unsuccessful attack against the president and prime minister. Since the attack, Timor-Leste has made considerable progress in building stability and democratic institutions, holding a series of successful parliamentary and presidential elections since 2012. Nonetheless, weak and unstable political coalitions have led to periodic episodes of political stalemate and crisis in governance. The ISF and UNMIT departed in 2012 but the UN continues to provide assistance on economic development and strengthening governing institutions. Currently, Timor-Leste is one of the world's poorest nations with an economy that relies heavily on energy resources in the Timor Sea.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Southeastern Asia, northwest of Australia in the Lesser Sunda Islands at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago; note - Timor-Leste includes the eastern half of the island of Timor, the Oecussi (Ambeno) region on the northwest portion of the island of Timor, and the islands of Pulau Atauro and Pulau Jaco

Geographic coordinates

8 50 S, 125 55 E

Map references

Southeast Asia

Area

total: 14,874 sq km

land: 14,874 sq km

water: 0 sq km

comparison ranking: total 159

Area - comparative

slightly larger than Connecticut; almost half the size of Maryland

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 253 km

border countries (1): Indonesia 253 km

Coastline

706 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm

Climate

tropical; hot, humid; distinct rainy and dry seasons

Terrain

mountainous

Elevation

highest point: Foho Tatamailau 2,963 m

lowest point: Timor Sea, Savu Sea, and Banda Sea 0 m

Natural resources

gold, petroleum, natural gas, manganese, marble

Land use

agricultural land: 25.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 10.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 4.9% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 10.1% (2018 est.)

forest: 49.1% (2018 est.)

other: 25.8% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

350 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

most of the population concentrated in the western third of the country, particularly around Dili

Natural hazards

floods and landslides are common; earthquakes; tsunamis; tropical cyclones

Geography - note

Timor comes from the Malay word for "east"; the island of Timor is part of the Malay Archipelago and is the largest and easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands; the district of Oecussi is an exclave separated from Timor-Leste proper by Indonesia; Timor-Leste has the unique distinction of being the only Asian country located completely in the Southern Hemisphere

People and Society

Population

1,476,042 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 156

Nationality

noun: Timorese

adjective: Timorese

Ethnic groups

Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) (includes Tetun, Mambai, Tokodede, Galoli, Kemak, Baikeno), Melanesian-Papuan (includes Bunak, Fataluku, Bakasai), small Chinese minority

Languages

Tetun Prasa 30.6%, Mambai 16.6%, Makasai 10.5%, Tetun Terik 6.1%, Baikenu 5.9%, Kemak 5.8%, Bunak 5.5%, Tokodede 4%, Fataluku 3.5%, Waima'a 1.8%, Galoli 1.4%, Naueti 1.4%, Idate 1.2%, Midiki 1.2%, other 4.5% (2015 est.)

note: data represent population by mother tongue; Tetun and Portuguese are official languages; Indonesian and English are working languages; there are about 32 indigenous languages

Religions

Roman Catholic 97.6%, Protestant/Evangelical 2%, Muslim 0.2%, other 0.2% (2015 est.)

Demographic profile

Timor-Leste’s high fertility and population growth rates sustain its very youthful age structure – approximately 40% of the population is below the age of 15 and the country’s median age is 20.  While Timor-Leste’s total fertility rate (TFR) – the average number of births per woman – decreased significantly from over 7 in the early 2000s, it remains high at 4.3 in 2021 and will probably continue to decline slowly.  The low use of contraceptives and the traditional preference for large families is keeping fertility elevated.  The high TFR and falling mortality rates continue to fuel a high population growth rate of nearly 2.2%, which is the highest in Southeast Asia.  The country’s high total dependency ratio – a measure of the ratio of dependents to the working-age population – could divert more government spending toward social programs. Timor-Leste’s growing, poorly educated working-age population and insufficient job creation are ongoing problems.  Some 70% of the population lives in rural areas, where most of people are dependent on the agricultural sector.  Malnutrition and poverty are prevalent, with 42% of the population living under the poverty line as of 2014.

During the Indonesian occupation (1975-1999) and Timor-Leste’s fight for independence, approximately 250,000 Timorese fled to western Timor and, in lesser numbers, Australia, Portugal, and other countries. Many of these emigrants later returned.  Since Timor-Leste’s 1999 independence referendum, economic motives and periods of conflict have been the main drivers of emigration.  Bilateral labor agreements with Australia, Malaysia, and South Korea and the presence of Timorese populations abroad, are pull factors, but the high cost prevents many young Timorese from emigrating.  Timorese communities are found in its former colonizers, Indonesia and Portugal, as well as the Philippines and the UK.  The country has also become a destination for migrants in the surrounding region, mainly men seeking work in construction, commerce, and services in Dili.

Age structure

0-14 years: 39.05% (male 296,331/female 280,029)

15-64 years: 56.61% (male 408,662/female 426,897)

65 years and over: 4.34% (2023 est.) (male 30,856/female 33,267)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 90.3

youth dependency ratio: 59.4

elderly dependency ratio: 8.9

potential support ratio: 11.2 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 20.3 years (2023 est.)

male: 19.6 years

female: 21.1 years

comparison ranking: total 199

Population growth rate

2.1% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 39

Birth rate

30.4 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 26

Death rate

5.6 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 178

Net migration rate

-3.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 189

Population distribution

most of the population concentrated in the western third of the country, particularly around Dili

Urbanization

urban population: 32.5% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 3.31% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

281,000 DILI (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.93 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

23 years (2016 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality ratio

204 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 46

Infant mortality rate

total: 32.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 36.1 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 29.5 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 42

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 70.2 years (2023 est.)

male: 68.6 years

female: 72 years

comparison ranking: total population 173

Total fertility rate

4.09 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 24

Gross reproduction rate

1.98 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 98% of population

rural: 82.5% of population

total: 87.4% of population

unimproved: urban: 2% of population

rural: 17.5% of population

total: 12.6% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

9.9% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

0.76 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 88.7% of population

rural: 56.1% of population

total: 66.3% of population

unimproved: urban: 11.3% of population

rural: 43.9% of population

total: 33.7% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

3.8% (2016)

comparison ranking: 190

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 0.41 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.27 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.09 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.05 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 166

Tobacco use

total: 39.2% (2020 est.)

male: 67.6% (2020 est.)

female: 10.8% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 6

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

31.9% (2020)

comparison ranking: 4

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 2.6%

women married by age 18: 14.9%

men married by age 18: 1.2% (2016 est.)

Education expenditures

4.2% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 109

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 68.1%

male: 71.9%

female: 64.2% (2018)

People - note

one of only two predominantly Christian nations in Southeast Asia, the other being the Philippines

Environment

Environment - current issues

air pollution and deterioration of air quality; greenhouse gas emissions; water quality, scarcity, and access; land and soil degradation; forest depletion; widespread use of slash and burn agriculture has led to deforestation and soil erosion; loss of biodiversity

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection

signed, but not ratified: Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban

Climate

tropical; hot, humid; distinct rainy and dry seasons

Land use

agricultural land: 25.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 10.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 4.9% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 10.1% (2018 est.)

forest: 49.1% (2018 est.)

other: 25.8% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 32.5% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 3.31% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0.13% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 106

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 143

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 20.47 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 0.5 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 4.74 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 63,875 tons (2016 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 100 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 2 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 1.07 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

8.22 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste

conventional short form: Timor-Leste

local long form: Republika Demokratika Timor Lorosa'e (Tetum)/ Republica Democratica de Timor-Leste (Portuguese)

local short form: Timor Lorosa'e (Tetum)/ Timor-Leste (Portuguese)

former: East Timor, Portuguese Timor

etymology: timor" derives from the Indonesian and Malay word "timur" meaning "east"; "leste" is the Portuguese word for "east", so "Timor-Leste" literally means "Eastern-East"; the local [Tetum] name "Timor Lorosa'e" translates as "East Rising Sun"

note: pronounced TEE-mor LESS-tay

Government type

semi-presidential republic

Capital

name: Dili

geographic coordinates: 8 35 S, 125 36 E

time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

12 municipalities (municipios, singular municipio) and 1 special adminstrative region* (regiao administrativa especial); Aileu, Ainaro, Baucau, Bobonaro (Maliana), Covalima (Suai), Dili, Ermera (Gleno), Lautem (Lospalos), Liquica, Manatuto, Manufahi (Same), Oe-Cusse Ambeno* (Pante Macassar), Viqueque

note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)

Independence

20 May 2002 (from Indonesia); note - 28 November 1975 was the date independence was proclaimed from Portugal; 20 May 2002 was the date of international recognition of Timor-Leste's independence from Indonesia

National holiday

Restoration of Independence Day, 20 May (2002); Proclamation of Independence Day, 28 November (1975)

Constitution

history: drafted 2001, approved 22 March 2002, entered into force 20 May 2002

amendments: proposed by Parliament and parliamentary groups; consideration of amendments requires at least four-fifths majority approval by Parliament; passage requires two-thirds majority vote by Parliament and promulgation by the president of the republic; passage of amendments to the republican form of government and the flag requires approval in a referendum

Legal system

civil law system based on the Portuguese model; note - penal and civil law codes to replace the Indonesian codes were passed by Parliament and promulgated in 2009 and 2011, respectively

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Timor-Leste

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years

Suffrage

17 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President José RAMOS-HORTA (since 20 May 2022); note - the president is commander in chief of the military and can veto legislation, dissolve parliament, and call national elections

head of government: Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana GUSMAO (since 1 July 2023)

cabinet: Council of Ministers; ministers proposed to the prime minister by the coalition in the Parliament and sworn in by the President of the Republic

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); last election held on 19 March 2022 with a runoff on 19 April 2022 (next to be held in April 2027); following parliamentary elections, the president appoints the leader of the majority party or majority coalition as the prime minister

election results:
2022: José RAMOS-HORTA elected president in second round - RAMOS-HORTA (CNRT) 62.1%, Francisco GUTERRES (FRETILIN) 37.9%

2017: Francisco GUTERRES elected president; Francisco GUTERRES (FRETILIN) 57.1%, António da CONCEICAO (PD) 32.5%, other 10.4%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Parliament (65 seats; members directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by closed, party-list proportional representation vote using the D'Hondt method to serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 21 May 2023 (next to be held in May 2028)

election results: percent of vote by party - CNRT 41.5%, FRETILIN 25.8%, PD 9.3%, KHUNTO 7.5%, PLP 6%, other 9.9%; seats by party - CNRT 31, FRETILIN 19, PD 6, KHUNTO 5, PLP 4; note - 12 other parties received votes, but won no seats; composition - men 41, women 24; percent women 36.9%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Court of Appeals (consists of the court president and NA judges)

judge selection and term of office: court president appointed by the president of the republic from among the other court judges to serve a 4-year term; other court judges appointed - 1 by the Parliament and the others by the Supreme Council for the Judiciary, a body chaired by the court president and that includes mostly presidential and parliamentary appointees; other judges serve for life

subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; High Administrative, Tax, and Audit Court; district courts; magistrates' courts; military courts

note: the UN Justice System Programme, launched in 2003 and being rolled out in 4 phases through 2018, is helping strengthen the country's justice system; the Programme is aligned with the country's long-range Justice Sector Strategic Plan, which includes legal reforms

Political parties and leaders

Democratic Party or PD [Mariano Assanami SABINO Lopes]
National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction or CNRT [Kay Rala Xanana GUSMAO]
National Unity of the Sons of Timor (Haburas Unidade Nasional Timor Oan or KHUNTO) [Armanda BERTA DOS SANTOS]
People's Liberation Party or PLP [Taur Matan RUAK]
Revolutionary Front of Independent Timor-Leste or FRETILIN [Franciso GUTERRES]

note: 12 additional parties received votes during the 2023 parliamentary election but did not gain any seats

International organization participation

ACP, ADB, AOSIS, ARF, ASEAN (observer), CPLP, EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, PIF (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WMO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d’Affaires Antonito DE ARAUJO (since 24 February 2023)

chancery: 4201 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 504, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 966-3202

FAX: [1] (202) 966-3205

email address and website:
info@timorlesteembassy.org

http://www.timorlesteembassy.org/

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant), Chargé d'Affaires Marc WEINSTOCK (since August 2023)

embassy: Avenida de Portugal, Praia dos Coqueiros, Dili

mailing address: 8250 Dili Place, Washington, DC 20521-8250

telephone: (670) 332-4684, (670) 330-2400

FAX: (670) 331-3206

email address and website:
ConsDili@state.gov

https://tl.usembassy.gov/

Flag description

red with a black isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) superimposed on a slightly longer yellow arrowhead that extends to the center of the flag; a white star - pointing to the upper hoist-side corner of the flag - is in the center of the black triangle; yellow denotes the colonialism in Timor-Leste's past, black represents the obscurantism that needs to be overcome, red stands for the national liberation struggle; the white star symbolizes peace and serves as a guiding light

National symbol(s)

Mount Ramelau; national colors: red, yellow, black, white

National anthem

name: "Patria" (Fatherland)

lyrics/music: Fransisco Borja DA COSTA/Afonso DE ARAUJO

note: adopted 2002; the song was first used as an anthem when Timor-Leste declared its independence from Portugal in 1975; the lyricist, Francisco Borja DA COSTA, was killed in the Indonesian invasion just days after independence was declared

Economy

Economic overview

lower middle-income Southeast Asian economy; government expenditures funded via oil fund drawdowns; endemic corruption undermines growth; foreign aid-dependent; wide-scale poverty, unemployment, and illiteracy

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$5.289 billion (2022 est.)
$6.656 billion (2021 est.)
$6.32 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 177

Real GDP growth rate

-20.54% (2022 est.)
5.32% (2021 est.)
31.96% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 217

Real GDP per capita

$3,900 (2022 est.)
$5,000 (2021 est.)
$4,900 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 181

GDP (official exchange rate)

$3.205 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

0.96% (2019 est.)
2.29% (2018 est.)
0.52% (2017 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 13

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 9.1% (2017 est.)

industry: 56.7% (2017 est.)

services: 34.4% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 220; industry 4; agriculture 95

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 33% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 30% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 10.6% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 78.4% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -52% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

rice, maize, vegetables, coffee, roots/tubers nes, other meats, cassava, pork, beans, mangoes/guavas

Industries

printing, soap manufacturing, handicrafts, woven cloth

Industrial production growth rate

-46.25% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 220

Labor force

581,000 (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 158

Unemployment rate

1.79% (2022 est.)
2.34% (2021 est.)
2.79% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 18

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 13.8% (2021 est.)

male: 11.4%

female: 16.8%

comparison ranking: total 127

Population below poverty line

41.8% (2014 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

28.7 (2014 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 158

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 4%

highest 10%: 24% (2014 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population

Remittances

5.8% of GDP (2022 est.)
4.85% of GDP (2021 est.)
7.19% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Budget

revenues: $879 million (2019 est.)

expenditures: $1.396 billion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-75.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 222

Public debt

3.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
3.1% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 205

Taxes and other revenues

15.1% (of GDP) (2021 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 138

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$265.772 million (2022 est.)
$1.328 billion (2021 est.)
$266.301 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 55

Exports

$1.858 billion (2022 est.)
$2.772 billion (2021 est.)
$1.598 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 164

Exports - partners

Singapore 51%, China 20%, Japan 9%, Indonesia 6% (2019)

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, natural gas, coffee, various vegetables, scrap iron (2019)

Imports

$1.396 billion (2022 est.)
$1.298 billion (2021 est.)
$1.486 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 183

Imports - partners

Indonesia 39%, China 27%, Singapore 10%, Malaysia 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, cars, cement, delivery trucks, motorcycles (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$830.81 million (2022 est.)
$934.781 million (2021 est.)
$656.524 million (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 152

Debt - external

$311.5 million (31 December 2014 est.)
$687 million (31 December 2013 est.)

comparison ranking: 183

Exchange rates

the US dollar is used

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 284,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: -103 million kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 103 million kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 163; transmission/distribution losses 54; imports 132; exports 114; consumption 213

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 100% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 14,000 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 3,500 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 32,900 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 118

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 200

Refined petroleum products - imports

3,481 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 182

Natural gas

production: 5,104,670,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 5,104,670,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

538,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 538,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 189

Energy consumption per capita

5.74 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 168

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 1,840 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: (2022 est.) less than 1

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 217

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 1,481,007 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 110 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 159

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Timor-Leste has been moving forward with the regeneration of its economy and rebuilding key infrastructure, including telecommunications networks, that were destroyed during the years of civil unrest; fixed-line and fixed broadband penetration in Timor-Leste remains extremely low, mainly due to the limited fixed-line infrastructure and the proliferation of mobile connectivity; in an effort to boost e-government services; the number of subscribers through to 2026 is expected to develop steadily, though from a low base; by August 2020, Timor-Leste had three telecom service providers who jointly achieved a 98% network coverage nationally; the mobile broadband market is still at an early stage of development, strong growth is predicted over the next five years; at the end of 2020, the government issued new policy guidelines to maximize the use of spectrum in Timor-Leste; it invited mobile operators to submit applications for the allocation of spectrum in the 1800MHz, 2300MHz and 2600MHz bands; in November 2020, the government approved the deployment of a submarine fiber link connecting the south of the country to Australia via the North Western Cable System (NWCS) (2021)

domestic: fixed-line services less than 1 per 100 and mobile-cellular services is 110 per 100 (2022)

international: country code - 670;  international service is available; partnership with Australia telecom companies for potential deployment of a submarine fiber-optic link (NWCS); geostationary earth orbit satellite

Broadcast media

7 TV stations (3 nationwide satellite coverage; 2 terrestrial coverage, mostly in Dili; 2 cable) and 21 radio stations (3 nationwide coverage) (2019)

Internet users

total: 507,000 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 39% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 167

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 75 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 0.01 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 214

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 2 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 2

Airports

10 (2024)

comparison ranking: 162

Heliports

2 (2024)

Roadways

total: 6,040 km

paved: 2,600 km

unpaved: 3,440 km (2008)

comparison ranking: total 147

Merchant marine

total: 1 (2023)

by type: other 1

comparison ranking: total 186

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Dili

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Timor-Leste Defense Force (Falintil-Forcas de Defesa de Timor-L'este, Falintil (F-FDTL)): Joint Headquarters with Land, Air, Naval, Service Support, and Education/Training components

Ministry of Interior: National Police (Polícia Nacional de Timor-Leste, PNTL) (2024)

Military expenditures

1.8% of GDP (2022 est.)
1.8% of GDP (2021 est.)
1.8% of GDP (2020 est.)
1.7% of GDP (2019 est.)
1.3% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 73

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 1,500-2,000 personnel (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military is lightly armed and has a limited inventory consisting of equipment donated by other countries; in recent years, it has received small amounts of donated equipment from China, South Korea, and the US (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; compulsory service was authorized in 2020 for men and women aged 18-30 for 18 months of service, but the level of implementation is unclear (2023)

Military - note

the small and lightly equipped F-FDTL has both external defense and internal security roles; it has two infantry battalions, a small air component, and a handful of naval patrol boats 

since achieving independence, Timor-Leste has received security assistance from or has made defense cooperation arrangements with Australia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Portugal, the UN, and the US; some Defense Force personnel train with the Indonesian military (2023)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Timor-Leste-Australia: Timor-Leste and Australia reached agreement on a treaty delimiting a permanent maritime boundary in March 2018; both countries ratified the treaty in August 2019

Timor-Leste-Indonesia: three stretches of land borders with Indonesia have yet to be delimited, two of which are in the Oecussi exclave area, and no maritime or Economic Exclusion Zone boundaries have been established between the countries; the two countries maintain a joint Border Security Task Force to jointly monitor and patrol the border, particularly the Oecussi exclave area where smuggling and trafficking are prevalent; maritime boundaries with Indonesia remain unresolved; between 2005 and 2015, 500 border landmarks were placed and another 200 were proposed