With its strategic geographic position in the Indo-Pacific region, the small island nation Timor-Leste is primed for international investment and growth. Catalyzing such growth opportunities requires the presence of a strong Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. ICTs serve as essential accelerators for economic and social development, specifically equipping Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with the ability to thrive and participate in not just the local, but also the global economy. Yet, the absence of ICT-related laws and policies in Timor-Leste inhibited private sector investment from international and local stakeholders who seek the confidence of a regulatory environment consistent with international best practices. Without an appropriate policy and legal framework, Timor-Leste lacked the foundation for a thriving digital ecosystem.

Recognizing these legal and regulatory challenges, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) deployed Digital Frontiers’ Advancing Timor-Leste’s Autonomous Telecommunications Landscape (ATLATL) activity1. Funded under the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership (DCCP) and managed by USAID’s implementing partner DAI, ATLATL provided technical assistance directly to the Government of Timor-Leste (GOTL) to develop a comprehensive ICT policy and legal framework.2 In close coordination with USAID Timor-Leste, TIC-Timor, and the office of the Prime Minister, the ATLATL team led the development of an updated National ICT Policy, a National Cybersecurity Strategy, and then prepared draft legislation for five critical areas for Timor-Leste’s ICT sector.