MCC delegation visited Timor-Leste to conclude all required technical decisions to finalise compact investment decision memo for approvals

Thu. 18 of November of 2021, 19:54h

A delegation from the United States Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) safely arrived in Dili, Timor-Leste on November 6, 2021. The delegation was composed of 14 people from three technical teams on Water Treatment, Sanitation and Drainage, Social Behavior Change and Education Project. The delegation conducted its mission in Timor-Leste during 12 days from November 6-17, 2021. The delegation was led directly by Ms. Hana Scheetz Freymiller, MCC Country Team Lead Timor-Leste.

The main objective of the mission is to conclude all required technical decisions in order to finalize the projects in the compact for MCC and Government of Timor-Leste’s approval. The National Executive Director, Ambassador Constancio Pinto said that “the MCC’s mission testifies the continuing commitment of United States to support Timor-Leste through MCC economic development assistance”. Amb. Pinto added that “this mission is the full trip mission of MCC to Timor-Leste. This mission is critical because we have to finalize the investment decision. So, what we are expecting that throughout from this mission, we are eager to see that the compact will sign in 2022. It’s been already few years working on this and it cannot extend more, if we can finalize the compact and sign the agreement in 2022”.

On the other Ms. Hana Scheetz Freymiller, Country Team Lead MCC Timor-Leste said “First, I would like to thank Ambassador Pinto and the entire CDT-TL and the Government of Timor-Leste for hosting the delegation from MCC and having a such fruitful discussion for the last two weeks. The Covid-19 pandemic delayed the completion of the necessary study to finalize the compact program. However, through out these challenging and incredible times, the Government of Timor-Leste and MCC have remained deeply committed to the swift development and the implementation of the compact for and by Timor-Leste. It is because of our great partnership that we are here together today and have stayed on track to sign the compact next year.

She added that, “We have brought three technical teams on this mission. One team for water, sanitation and drainage, a second team for education and a third team for the social behavior change. We are investigating projects in the area of water treatment, sanitation and drainage infrastructure and in secondary education. We hope to complete the studies necessary to finalize the compact program as soon as possible. Our ability to do this will depend on travel restrictions being lifted and the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. Furthermore, she said, “We are very excited to be here to finalize the technical agreements and details of the projects in the compact”.

During this visit, the MCC delegation hold series of discussions with CDT-TL, President BEE Timor-Leste E.P (BTL, EP), Eng. Carlos Peloi dos Reis, Autoridade Nacional Águas E Saneamento (ANAS, IP), Eletricidade de Timor-Leste, Empreza Públika (EDTL, EP), Ajensia Nasionál ba Lisensiamentu Ambientál (ANLA) and relevant institutions in order to accomplish the final decision on project scope of the project. The mission also conducted series of discussion with representatives from both Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport

(MEYS) and Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Culture (MESSC) and relevant institutions, Civil society organization and development partners in order to accomplish study for Education project, include Social Behavior Change project.

The MCC Board of Directors selected Timor-Leste for an MCC Compact in December 2017. An MCC Compact involves five-year grants for selected countries that meet MCC’s stringent eligibility criteria. Timor-Leste’s strong performance in meeting these criteria led to the MCC’s decision to transition Timor-Leste from a smaller Threshold program to a full-fledged Compact. MCC’s compact investments operate on strict five-year implementation timelines–once the five-year clock starts, it cannot be stopped. In order to ensure MCC and the Government of Timor-Leste can successfully implement the proposed projects within the five years; they have invested significant time in developing the compact and preparing the projects for approval and then implementation. The proposed compact aims to reduce the country’s disease burden by upgrading the water treatment, sanitation and drainage system in Dili, and improve the quality of Secondary Education by establishing a Center of Excellence and training secondary teachers and school leaders. According to the original plan, the Government of United State of America and the Government of Timor-Leste signed the compact agreement in 2020, however the timeline was delayed due to Covid-19 pandemic development in Timor-Leste.