Australian High Commission

Development cooperation


Overview of Australia’s aid program to Bangladesh

How we are helping

2014/15 Bilateral Outcome
$72.1 million

2015/16 Bilateral Budget Estimate
$42.1 million

2015/16 Total Australian ODA Estimate
$59.8 million

The Australian Government is providing an estimated $59.8 million in total Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) to Bangladesh in 2015-16. This includes an estimated $42.1 million in bilateral funding to Bangladesh managed by DFAT.

Australia’s bilateral relationship with Bangladesh continues to grow. Two-way trade exceeded $1.1 billion in 2014 on the back of sustained growth in the Bangladesh economy. Australia is increasingly a preferred education destination for Bangladeshi students. 

Poverty has steadily declined over the last 20 years in Bangladesh. However, 47 million people still live in poverty – the highest per capita poverty levels in South Asia and 28 million of these people are classified as extremely poor.

Australia's aid partnership with Bangladesh - one of our largest - is long-standing. Australian aid is targeted to areas where we can make a difference and where our resources can most effectively and efficiently be deployed. Our support will seek to ensure that the most disadvantaged are not left behind and have opportunities to participate in the economy.

Australian aid in Bangladesh has focus on improving education outcomes and building economic resilience among Bangladesh's poorest and most marginalised communities. In both areas, we priorities gender equality by focusing on empowering women and girls. Key partners for Australian aid in Bangladesh are the Bangladesh Government, BRAC, the UK Government and the World Food Programme.

Australia’s support aligns with the Bangladesh Government’s Seventh Five Year Plan 2016–2020. The Plan - describes a pathway for the country to achieve full middle income status by empowering its citizens and boosting inclusinve economic growth.

Our program is outlined in greater detail in the 2015/16- 2018/19 Bangladesh Aid Investment Plan.



Australian Scholarships

Australia’s scholarship programs aim to promote knowledge, education links and enduring ties between Australia and our neighbours. 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.

Australian Awards Scholarship:

Australia Awards Scholarships are long-term development awards administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 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 over a thousand long-term scholarship to Bangladeshis since the 1970s. Long-term Australia Awards alumni in Bangladesh have occupied leadership positions in both the public and the private sectors and have contributed to achieve the country’s goals on important sectors such as education, agriculture, water resources, economic growth etc.

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:

Australian Government provides targeted scholarships for senior level professionals to participate in the short term study courses, workshop and learning opportunities to enhance professional skills and capacities. In 2015-16, approximately 40 short-terms scholarships will be provided.


New Colombo Plan

The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region. The Plan involves a scholarship program to study at local institutions for up to one year and internships or mentorships, and a flexible mobility grants program for both short and longer-term study, internships, mentorships, practicums and research. The New Colombo Plan is intended to be transformational, deepening Australia's relationships in the region, both at the individual level and through expanding university, business and other links.

Hundreds of Australian undergrads will live and study in Bangladesh in upcoming years under the New Colombo Plan. The Australian Government requests private sector, NGOs and other organisations in Bangladesh to engage with the New Colombo Plan through providing internship and mentorship opportunities for Australian students in Bangladesh. As a registered member of the New Colombo Plan Internship and Mentorship Network, host organisations can access a diverse talent pool and support students in obtaining professional experience in the region. Please register here. For more information, please visit the New Colombo Plan Business Engagement site or contact the New Colombo Plan Secretariat on


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 on an annual basis.

The Australian High Commission is pleased to invite community groups, NGOs, academic institutions, research bodies, libraries, museums, sports organisations or any other organizations engaged in development activities in Bangladesh to submit project proposals for funding under its Direct Aid Program for the year 2018-19.

Please read Direct Aid Program: Bangladesh Guidelines below to find out more about the eligibility criteria, funding arrangements and application procedures.
Projects are expected to be self-sustainable and oriented towards self-help. Submissions should demonstrate a commitment on the part of the local authorities and/or people who will be the beneficiaries to implement the activities and sustain them. Projects that will offer direct and immediate benefits to target groups will be given preference.

The Australian contribution towards each project will be limited to approximately AUD 60,000 over one year.

Applicants may also bid for DAP funds below these thresholds.

Application submission deadline: 13 June 2018

For further information please contact:

Public Diplomacy and Research Officer | Australian High Commission | Phone: +88-02-58813105, Ext. 413 | E-mail: