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  • EIB will provide €250 million to strengthen Bangladesh’s healthcare system and support immunisation against COVID-19
  • Vaccines to also reach Rohingya refugees, who fled from Myanmar and found shelter and hospitality in Bangladesh
  • Luxembourg supports Luxembourg/Dhaka-based NGO Friendship which contributes to the awareness on and roll-out of the nation-wide vaccination campaign

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the bank of the European Union and the largest multilateral lender in the world, will provide €250 million to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh via EIB Global to support procurement of safe and effective vaccines and country-wide immunisation against COVID-19. Vaccination efforts will also include Rohingya refugees from Myanmar currently hosted in Bangladesh.

The financing will help Bangladesh to mitigate the health effects of the coronavirus pandemic and enable the country to strengthen its healthcare system and protect its people from COVID-19 with effective vaccines. These are all key preconditions for continued sustainable economic and social growth.

Luxembourg supports the development of Bangladesh’s health system since many years by financing the Non-Governmental Organisation like Friendship which operates medical stations across the country and supports Bangladesh in its vaccination campaign. Friendship is particularly engaged in the Jamuna/ Brahmaputra river area in the North of Bangladesh and in the costal belt in the South. The organisation promotes vaccination through an information and awareness campaign and provides logistical support in its roll-out, such as the registration of patients and the assistance in their transportation to vaccination centers.

EIB President Werner Hoyer said: “We very much welcome this partnership and the real impact it’s having on people’s lives. This is the perfect example of partnerships that EIB Global is increasingly promoting around the world to make a difference where is most needed. Working with other EU organisations, countries, and partners as part of Team Europe increases our impact on the ground especially when it comes to global challenges like the COVID pandemic, climate change or food security.”

Vice-President Christian Kettel Thomsen, who is responsible for operations in South Asia, said: “We are proud of the role and contribution of the EIB, the European Union, Luxembourg, and Bangladesh towards ensuring friendship, cooperation and sustainable development remain our reality. Investing in the health sector and in Covid-19 related projects has been a crucial part of EIB’s support to combat the crisis, both inside and outside the EU.”

The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to the European Union, H.E. Mahbub Hassan Saleh, said: “Efforts by the different players in Bangladesh have combined and helped us achieve remarkable feats in its vaccination. Despite local socio-economic challenges, over 70% of the Bangladeshi population of about 170 million people have received the first dose within months since the beginning of the vaccination, and more than half of the population have taken the second jab.” He added:  “This is not a succes story of Bangladesh only. It is a success story of how a partnership with the EU can transform and contribute significantly to the development journey of a country in this case Bangladesh. EU - Bangladesh relations are a classic example of a transition from “aid to trade” in international development, and today Over 50% of our exports goes to EU member states. By 2026, the country will exit the group of least-developed countries.”

Luxembourg’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Franz Fayot, said: “The Luxembourg Development Cooperation has been supporting NGOs active in Bangladesh for years and can look back on a particularly good and successful cooperation. With Friendship Luxembourg, for example, we work to strengthen marginalized communities in Bangladesh by improving their access to quality basic social services, such as health, sanitation and education. The importance of strengthening and stabilising health systems, and doing so on a global scale, was made particularly clear to all of us by the COVID-19 pandemic. Luxembourg will therefore continue its engagement, together with civil society, bilateral and multilateral partners, in supporting the most vulnerable, in Bangladesh and in its other partner countries.”

Friendship Luxembourg Chairman Marc Elvinger said: “We are impressed by the overall vaccination rate that Bangladesh achieved within a relatively limited period of time. With the support of Luxembourg’s Government and citizens, Friendship is able to contribute to ensuring effective access of people in rural areas of Bangladesh to vaccination and achieve vaccination rates in remote communities that are aligned with those of the rest of the country.”

See the video “Bridging the last mile” on Friendship’s contribution to the Covid-19 vaccination campaign :  FRIENDHSIP’S COVID-19 VACCINATION EFFORTS.mp4

Background information

EIB Global is the EIB Group’s new specialised arm dedicated to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance.  EIB Global is designed to foster strong, focused partnership within Team Europe, alongside fellow development finance institutions, and civil society. EIB Global brings the Group closer to local people, companies and institutions through our offices across the world

The EIB in Bangladesh: Since the beginning of its operations in Bangladesh in 2000, the EIB has supported seven projects in the country and invested close to €753.2 million in transport, energy, water and wastewater management projects.

The EIB in Asia: For 25 years, the European Investment Bank has supported economic development in Asia and the Pacific region. The projects that EIB helps finance make people’s lives easier — from cutting travel times in Bangalore with a new metro line, to providing cheaper, cleaner energy to western Nepal. The EIB has chosen to focus in Asia on lending on climate action across all sectors. The bank also works to include gender equality in its projects, ensuring that women, men, girls and boys can benefit from projects equally and equitably.

About Luxembourg’s Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs:

The Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs is in charge of implementing the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs’ development cooperation programmes. The main objective of Luxembourg’s development cooperation is to contribute to the eradication of extreme poverty and the promotion of economic, social and environmental sustainability. In Bangladesh, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation is currently supporting four NGOs: Fondation Caritas Luxembourg, Christian Solidarity International, Friendship Luxembourg and ECPAT. The funds allocated to their projects for the years from 2019 to 2025 amount to 14.6 million euros.

About Friendship:

Friendship, a Social Purpose Organization, has been working for the last 20 years to help address the needs of remote and marginalized communities in Bangladesh. Friendship delivers on its four commitments of Saving Lives, Poverty Alleviation, Climate Adaptation, and Empowerment by providing effective services in six sectors interacting with each other: Health, Education, Climate Action, Inclusive Citizenship, Sustainable Economic Development, and Cultural Preservation. The organization, which started in 2002 with just a floating hospital serving only ten thousand patients, is creating access to healthcare and other development solutions for more than 7 million people. Friendship presently employs more than 3.500 people, of which approximately two third are recruited within the very communities it serves. Since August 2017 Friendship is implementing extensive programs within the Rohingya refugee camps where it has developed into the largest local NGO health service provider. With an integrated development approach, Friendship nurtures opportunity, dignity and hope by strengthening communities and allowing their members to reach their full potential.

More: Homepage - Friendship NGO