Australian High Commission

Development cooperation


Overview of Australia’s aid program to Bangladesh

How we are helping

2017/18 Total Australian ODA Outcome
$89.9 million

2018/19 Total Bilateral Budget Estimate
$42.1 million

2018/19 Total Australian ODA Estimate
$59.8 million

Australia's bilateral relationship with Bangladesh continues to grow. Two-way trade exceeded $2.3 billion in 2016-17 on the back of sustained growth in the Bangladesh economy. Australia is increasingly a preferred education destination for Bangladeshi students. Our development partnership is long-standing and Australia is one of the top five bilateral donors contributing humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh and Myanmar.

The Australian Government is providing an estimated $59.8 million in total ODA to Bangladesh in 2018-19. This includes an estimated $42.1 million in bilateral funding to Bangladesh managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Poverty has steadily declined over the last 20 years in Bangladesh, but 47 million people still live in poverty. Many people still do not have adequate foundational education, skills or assets to participate in and gain from growth in the economy. Access to better quality education and more effective social protection systems will help share the benefits of economic growth.

Australia's ODA will support initiatives to enable Bangladesh to meet its development objectives with a particular focus on education and building economic resilience among the poorest and most marginalised communities. In both areas, we will prioritise gender equality by focusing on empowering women and girls.

Australia's support to Bangladesh aligns with the Bangladesh Government's vision for the country, outlined in it's Seventh Five Year Plan 2016–2020, in which the Bangladesh Government has committed to boost economic growth and empower citizens as part of the Government's long-term vision for eliminating poverty.

Australia is focusing its efforts in Bangladesh in areas where Australia can make a difference and where our resources can most effectively and efficiently be deployed.

Australia is also assisting the Government of Bangladesh to respond to the needs of over 900,000 displaced Rohingya people as well as host communities in Cox's Bazar District. Australia is doing this by deploying Australian civilian specialists and making financial contributions to the World Food Programme (WFP), BRAC, UN partners, and Australian NGOs. Australian funding will contribute to the provision of food, shelter, clean water and essential health services.

Since 2017, Australian funding has assisted the Government of Bangladesh to lead the humanitarian response in Cox's Bazar. Our funding has contributed to the distribution of food (such as rice and pulses) to over 400,000 displaced Rohingya; supported the provision of nutritional supplements to 54,782 women and children including 39,254 children suffering from malnutrition and the construction of 215 children and girl friendly spaces. This has benefited over 48,000 children and improved access to clean drinking water, shelter and health care to those impacted by the crisis.

For more information on Australia’s aid program in Bangladesh, please click on this link - Australia’s aid program in Bangladesh 

Australian Scholarships

Australia's scholarship programs aim to promote knowledge, education links and enduring ties between Australia and our neighbors. Recipients return home with new ideas and knowledge and the ability to make a significant contribution to their home countries as leaders in their field.

Bangladeshi citizens are eligible to apply for Australia Awards Scholarships; Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships and short-term Awards.

Australia Awards Scholarships:

Australia Awards Scholarships are long-term development awards administered by DFAT. They contribute to the long-term development needs of Australia's partner countries in line with bilateral and regional agreements. Australia Awards Scholarships provide opportunities for people from developing countries, particularly those countries located in the Indo-Pacific region, to undertake full-time postgraduate study at participating Australian universities. The study and research opportunities provided by Australia Awards Scholarships develop skills and knowledge of individuals to drive change and contribute to the development outcomes of their own country.

Developing human resources through tertiary-level education scholarships has been part of Australia's aid program and foreign policy in Bangladesh (East Pakistan before its independence in 1971) since the 1950s. Australia has provided nearly two thousand long-term scholarships to Bangladeshis since the 1970s. Long-term Australia Awards alumni in Bangladesh occupy leadership positions in both the public and the private sectors and contribute to achieving the country's goals in important sectors such as education, agriculture, water resources, and economic growth. Each year, about 70 Australia Awards Scholarships are provided to Bangladeshi nationals for master’s level study in Australia. For more information, please visit the Australia Awards South and West Asia program in Bangladesh.

Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships:

Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships are the Australian Government’s internationally competitive, merit-based scholarships, providing opportunities to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia. The Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships were established in 2003 to showcase the excellence of Australia's education sector. The Australian Government's Department of Education and Training administers the Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships. The Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships aim to build Australia's reputation for excellence in the provision of education and research, support the internationalisation of the Australian higher education and research sectors and offer high-achieving individuals from overseas and Australia opportunities to increase their productivity and expertise in their field.

Short-term Scholarships:

The Australian Government provides targeted scholarships for mid and senior-level professionals to participate in the short-term study courses, workshops, and learning opportunities to enhance professional skills and capacities. Each year, the Australian High Commission in Dhaka provides about 150 short-term scholarships to Bangladeshi nationals to attend various courses, workshops, seminars and other learning opportunities in Australia, Bangladesh, and other countries.

The Direct Aid Program

The Direct Aid Program (DAP) is a flexible small grants program funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The aim of the DAP is to advance developmental objectives and address humanitarian hardship in developing countries. DAP is administered through Australia's overseas diplomatic posts.

There will not be a Direct Aid Program application round for 2020-2021. The Australian High Commission will continue to work with non-government organisations, and will administer previous years’ DAP projects to completion. Any further updates will be posted on the Australian High Commission website and Facebook page.