Fact Sheet Bilateral Relations

Fact Sheet







15.007 sq.km

Current Weather


Maximum temperature: 31 °C

Minimum temperature: 24 °C


1.34 million (2021)*

Languages (with %age of speakers, if available)

Tetum and Portuguese are official languages. Bahasa Indonesia and English are also spoken to some extent.

Religions (with %age, if available)

96.9% Roman Catholic; 2.2% Protestant/Evangelical; 0.3% Muslim, 0.6% others


Exchange rate with US$ & INR

US$ is the currency used.


Political Structure


Unitary semi-Presidential Republic.

The Head of State is the President, who is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. Although his executive powers are somewhat limited, the President does have veto power over government's legislation. Following elections, the President appoints the leader of the majority party or majority coalition as the Prime Minister. As Head of Government, the Prime Minister presides over the cabinet.

The unicameral National Parliament members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms in a modified proportional representation system. The number of seats can vary from 52 to 65.

Head of State (President)

H.E. Mr. José Ramos Horta

(since 20 May 2022)

Head of Government (Prime Minister)

H.E. Mr Kay Rala “Xanana” Gusmão

(since 1 July 2023)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation

H.E. Mr. Bendito dos Santos Freitas

(since 1 July 2023)





Since its independence in 1999, Timor-Leste has faced great challenges in rebuilding its infrastructure, strengthening the civil administration, and generating jobs for young people entering the work force. The development of oil and gas resources in offshore waters, especially through the Bayu Undan reserve in Timor Sea, has greatly supplemented government revenues. On the strength of its oil-wealth, the economy has achieved real growth between 5-8% per year for the last several years. In June 2005, the National Parliament unanimously approved the creation of a Petroleum Fund to serve as a repository for all petroleum revenues and to preserve the value of Timor-Leste's petroleum wealth for future generations. The Fund, which provides for 85 to 90% of General State Budget, currently held assets of US$ 18.98 billion. Timor-Leste has created the conditions for successful development and largely peaceful democratic elections since 2012 reflect these achievements. World Bank overview states that proportion of Timorese living in poverty declined from 50% in 2007 to an estimated 42% in 2014. At the internationally comparable extreme poverty line of $ 1.90 (in 2011 purchasing power parity dollars), poverty in Timor-Leste fell from 47.2% to 30.3% over the same period. The Government of Timor-Leste managed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2020, however, a significant rise in cases in early 2021 has underscored the threat to public health that the pandemic poses. With the country under an extended state of emergency, the impact on the economy has been significant, with a contraction of over 7 percent in 2020. The nation however continues to face challenges, with economic growth largely reliant on government spending and revenues from natural resources. The key challenge facing Timor-Leste in the context of the depleting oil reserves is therefore diversification of economic activity from public to private, and from petroleum into other sectors, while maintaining a sustainable fiscal position and improving services. The underlying economic policy challenge the country faces remains how best to use oil-and-gas wealth to lift the non-oil economy onto a higher growth path and to reduce poverty. In this new context, the country’s vision of developing Tasi Mane integrated oil and gas cluster on the south coast around the Greater Sunrise reserve located between Timor-Leste and Australia now seems much less feasible. The Government has already invested $650 million (around 40% of non-oil GDP) to acquire a 56.6% stake in the Greater Sunrise Joint Venture. It now needs to take into account that there may be fewer credible investors who are ready to join the project. The exploration licensing round, which began in the fourth quarter of 2019 and was due to close in 2020, is now extended to 2021.


$ 3,355 billion (2020-WB)

GDP per capita

$ 1,381 (2020-WB)

GDP Growth Rate

-8.7 % (2020 - WB)

Total Trade (in mil)



$ 745 (2019)*

$ 591 (2019)*

$ 154 (2019)*

*Source: WTO

Bilateral Trade





US $ 26.04 million (Exports only) (2021 - 2022)

US $ 25.40 million (2020 – 2021)

Nil (2021 – 2022)

US $ 0.04 million (2020 – 2021)

US $ 26.04 million (2021 – 2022)

US $ 25.36 million (2020 - 2021)


Indian Origin/ Permanent Resident


Indian Expatriates (composition and any pertinent information that may be of interest)

About 30 Indians working as advisors in various Ministries, UN agencies and international donors. Some Indians are entrepreneurs and are engaged in trading and restaurant business. There are a few PIO in Timor Leste occupying high position including the Minister of Interior and Presidential Staff.

Indian Organizations







Government Organizations




The Indian community in Timor Leste has formed a friendship society called ‘Association of Indians in Timor Leste’ in February 2017.

*(Source : WB) As of July 2021

Fact Sheet