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Development assistance in Bangladesh

Flag of Bangladesh

Australia’s development partnership with Bangladesh

How we are helping

2020-21 bilateral allocation [budget estimate]
$30.8 million
2020-21 total Australian ODA [budget estimate]
$55.7 million
2019-20 total Australian ODA [budget estimate]
$70.1 million

Australia enjoys a strong development and trade relationship with Bangladesh and will continue to support Bangladesh through its response and recovery from COVID-19. As one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with a population of 165 million people, COVID-19 has intensified pre-existing humanitarian and economic challenges for Bangladesh. This includes in Cox’s Bazar where almost 1.3 million people, including 855,000 Rohingya refugees displaced from Myanmar and 444,000 local Bangladeshis, depend on humanitarian assistance. Bangladesh is also highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change and natural disasters which could further exacerbate pressures caused by COVID-19.

Australia’s development program will support Bangladesh’s health security, stability and economic recovery, placing a strong emphasis on protecting the most vulnerable, especially women and girls and people with disabilities. We will work in partnership with the Bangladesh Government and other donors in a targeted and flexible way; and maximise our impact by using all policy levers, including development, economic, diplomatic, trade and security capabilities, including in multilateral fora.

Pillar 1 – health security

Australian development partners moved quickly to support Bangladesh’s emergency health response to COVID-19, providing medical equipment, training, hygiene and community awareness services; and emergency food and income to vulnerable people across Bangladesh. We will continue to support Bangladesh’s health security through Australian NGOs, our regional Water for Women program, and global contributions to the World Health Organization, GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

In the Cox’s Bazar District, Australia’s partnerships with UN agencies, Australian non-government organisations and BRAC, are meeting basic needs in nutrition, education, protection and hygiene services. Our COVID-19 health response includes the construction of isolation and treatment facilities with capacity for 1,900 beds; targeted support for women; and specialist support through Australia Assists.

Further information on programs addressing health security in Bangladesh.

Pillar 2 – stability

Australia is partnering with Bangladesh to support greater social cohesion and address food security risks exacerbated by COVID-19. We will assist Bangladesh to reform the systems underpinning the National Social Security Strategy to enhance its systems, to ensure support reaches the most vulnerable. Through the World Food Programme, ACIAR, CSIRO and Australian NGOs we are supporting nutrition services and agricultural research partnerships.  We are continuing to support inclusive education and skills development through BRAC, the Underprivileged Children's Educational Program (UCEP), Australia Awards, and the Global Partnership for Education. In Cox’s Bazar District, Australia’s humanitarian assistance will support initiatives that build the resilience, social cohesion and self-reliance of both Rohingya and local communities. Australia will work with Bangladesh to support stability and economic growth in the Indian Ocean Region, including through the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

Further information on programs addressing stability in Bangladesh.

Pillar 3 – economic recovery

Australia will support Bangladesh’s longer-term economic recovery, including investing in human capital and job creation through our partnerships with BRAC, UCEP, non-government and multilateral organisations. We will support Bangladesh’s efforts to enhance the quality of transport and energy infrastructure, and revitalise and diversify trade and investment, including through multilateral trade and infrastructure investments. We will help Bangladesh to plan and leverage private and multilateral development bank finance, and to access technical expertise, improve climate and disaster resilience, shift to low-carbon and inclusive development and improve regional connectivity.

Australia and Bangladesh intend to pursue new opportunities to promote trade and investment so that our companies can support a shared economic recovery from COVID-19. Private sector opportunities in growth industries, such as information technology, will be supported through Australia’s new Emerging Markets Impact Investment Fund, the Business Partnerships Platform and CSIRO.

Further information on programs addressing economic recovery in Bangladesh.

Australia’s development efforts are set out in Partnerships for Recovery: Australia’s COVID-19 Development Response.

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