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Denmark: The Humane Internationalist

Denmark: The Humane Internationalist

(p.190) Chapter 7 Denmark: The Humane Internationalist
Foreign Aid
University of Chicago Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the history and evolution of Danish foreign aid. Denmark is one of the smallest aid-giving countries, with a population of only 5 million in the year 2000. But for several years in the 1990s, it became the most generous source of aid relative to the size of its economy, with aid equal to 1.0 percent or more of gross national income during much of that decade. At the same time, Denmark gained a reputation as a leader in development assistance, emphasizing poverty reduction in its aid projects and programs, and, as a result, has been termed both a “humane internationalist” and a “front-runner” in aid-giving. However, generosity and a focus on development and reducing poverty are not the only characteristics of Danish assistance. Often overlooked has been the strong commercial purpose evident in that aid. Further, at the end of the century, several new purposes were added in the provision of Danish aid. Finally, in an apparent rupture with past policies, a Liberal-Conservative government with a center-right orientation, elected in 2002, promptly slashed the level of Danish aid by 10 percent and Danish aid as a percentage of GNI fell to 0.85 percent—third place in the index of aid generosity.

Keywords:   Danish foreign aid, aid policies, development assistance, poverty reduction

Denmark is one of the smallest aid-giving countries, with a population of only 5 million in the year 2000. But for several years in the 1990s, it became the most generous source of aid relative to the size of its economy, with aid equal to 1.0 percent or more of gross national income during much of that decade. At the same time, it gained a reputation as a leader in development assistance, emphasizing poverty reduction in its aid projects and programs. As a result, Denmark has been termed both a “humane internationalist” (along with other Scandinavian countries) and a “front-runner” in aid-giving.1

However, generosity and a focus on development and reducing poverty are not the only characteristics of Danish assistance. Often overlooked has been the strong commercial purpose evident in that aid—it was long the case that roughly half of Denmark's bilateral aid was dedicated to promoting Danish exports and investment abroad. Further, at the end of the century, several new purposes were added in the provision of Danish aid. Finally, in an apparent rupture with past policies, a Liberal-Conservative government with a center-right orientation, elected in 2002, promptly slashed the level of Danish aid by 10 percent and Danish aid as a percentage of GNI fell to 0.85 percent—third place in the index of aid generosity. What explains the mix of purposes in Danish aid, its generosity in aid-giving during the latter part of the twentieth century, and then its apparent reversal of policy at the beginning of the twenty-first?


Danish aid has evolved through four stages: origin and establishment, from the early post–World War II period to 1970; consolidation, between 1971 and (p.191) 1990; transition, during the 1990s; and a reorientation in the volume of aid and tone of aid-giving beginning in 2002.

Origin and Establishment

Denmark commenced its aid in 1949 when it first contributed to the United Nations Technical Assistance program. Considering that Denmark was still receiving aid from the Marshall Plan, this was a largely symbolic gesture, intended to demonstrate Denmark's commitment to the United Nations. In the early 1950s, the Danes provided aid to a Korean hospital and to several other activities in developing countries. But it was not until the early 1960s that the Danish government, along with most other European countries, decided it was time to create its own foreign assistance program.

As a first step in setting up an aid program, the government initiated a national campaign to raise private funds for poor countries, promising to match them with public funds. This campaign was an early mobilization effort to inform and engage the Danish population on development and aid issues and gather support for a governmental program of assistance abroad. The campaign clearly touched a sympathetic nerve among the Danes. In the words of a study of Danish aid, “Rarely has a cause received stronger and broader support in Denmark. In early 1962 all the political parties, radio and television, most newspapers, labor unions, industrial organizations, the cooperative movement, churches and a string of prominent people inundated the public with pro-aid arguments.”2 The campaign was a major success and quickly culminated in a unanimous vote in the Folketing (the Danish parliament) in support of the Bill on Technical Cooperation with the Developing Countries, establishing Denmark's aid program. In addition to initiating a program of aid, this bill set up a secretariat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (which eventually came to be called DANIDA, from the Danish International Development Agency) to manage the aid.

Aid planners from the beginning made an effort to create a strong coalition of interests—commercial as well as development-oriented—as well as public support for Danish assistance. Danish aid was divided into three parts. Half of total aid was allocated to multilateral organizations, above all UN agencies involved in development, such as the UN Development Program, where states typically had one vote each regardless of their size or wealth. This was in part a reflection of Denmark's diplomatic interests in aid as well as its development interests. UN organizations were especially valued by small states like Denmark as arenas where they could play a role and exert influence irrespective of their size and where internationally (p.192) agreed upon rules and norms could be developed and used (in theory at least) to constrain larger powers.

The bilateral half of Danish aid was divided into roughly equal parts, between grants for low-income countries—linked to development purposes, which were supported by Danish NGOs—and loans to middle-income countries tied to Danish exports, intended to further Danish business interests abroad. In contrast to many other aid donors, the division of bilateral aid between promoting development and commercial interests was initially not so much a means of accommodating pressures from Danish manufacturers and farmers—such interests were quite passive at the time the aid program was established—as an effort to encourage Danish business to become engaged in the aid program in order to create a broad domestic constituency—or “resource base,” as the Danes term it—for that aid.

Although responsibility for both policy formulation and implementation of Danish aid programs and projects was located in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, several external advisory councils were created to guide the aid program. One was the Board on International Development Cooperation, which consisted of nine individuals drawn from major domestic groups with an interest in aid (e.g., development-oriented NGOs, the Agricultural Council of Denmark, the Danish Federation of Trade Unions, the Federation of Danish Industries, the scholarly and research community, youth groups, and prominent individuals) who were appointed by the minister of foreign affairs. The DANIDA Board, as it came to be known, met monthly to review aid projects, policies, and country allocations before they were approved by the ministers or the Folketing. While this board was advisory, its views were taken seriously by the parliament (which came to expect the imprimatur of the DANIDA Board before government aid projects were sent to it for approval) and by the government, giving it quite a lot of de facto power. The government also established the much larger Council on International Development Cooperation, made up of seventy-five members from the same groups represented on the DANIDA Board plus others, which met twice yearly to review the annual report of the DANIDA Board and the five-year, rolling aid budget. This council's influence over Danish aid was limited.

During the 1960s, Denmark was one of the least generous aid donors relative to the size of its economy, in stunning contrast to its position by the end of the century as the most generous aid donor in relative terms. In 1965, for example, Denmark's aid was 0.13 percent of its GNP—only three countries (Switzerland, Italy, and Finland) gave less proportionately, and the DAC average at that time was 0.48 percent.3 However, after being roundly criticized by the DAC in mid-decade for its stinginess, the Danish government began to increase its aid rapidly during the latter part of the decade, (p.193)

Denmark: The Humane Internationalist

Fig. 7.1. Total Danish Aid (Net)

Source: DAC, “International Development Statistics (IDS) Online,” 7/5037721.htm.

more than tripling it between 1964–66 and 1970 (see fig. 7.1).4 (The overall average increase for DAC members was just under 100 percent during the same period.)

As a small aid-giver, the government wanted to concentrate its bilateral aid for development in a few countries for maximum impact. It identified several “concentration countries” on which it would focus its aid efforts, including Tanzania, India, and Kenya. Tanzania was popular in Denmark because its president, Julius Nyerere, was seen as holding values and pursuing policies very much in line with the values shared by many Danes and especially by the Social Democrats and other left-wing parties in power there. India was the world's largest poor country (apart from China, which was inhospitable to Western aid at this time). Kenya held a special interest for Danes because one of their most famous writers, Karen Blixen (a.k.a. Isak Dinesen), settled there and had, in the words of one observer, established through her books on life in Kenya a “sentimental bond” between Danes and Kenya.5 These countries remained those most aided by Denmark through the end of the 1980s (see table 7.1). (Kenya was finally dropped from the main aid recipients at the end of the 1990s because of its poor human rights record. India was dropped in 1998 because of its nuclear weapons program and testing in that year.)

In 1970–71 roughly 40 percent of Danish bilateral aid (mainly, its grant aid for development purposes) went to the four recipients listed in table 7.1. At the same time, Denmark provided small amounts of aid to numerous other developing countries, much of it in the form of tied loans aimed at expanding (p.194)

Table 7.1. Major Recipients of Danish Aid





















Note: Recipients listed by amount of aid, in descending order, from the same source as table 6.1.

Denmark's export markets. Some sixty countries received this form of assistance between 1963 and 1998.


The 1970s through the 1980s marked a new phase in Danish aid, involving the consolidation of aid programs. The period saw periodic debates in parliament and among the interested public on aid issues—often generated by domestic concerns and the political process but also provoked by major international reports on aid and activities of the DAC. Compared to the United States or France, Denmark was unusually responsive to international debate and criticisms of its aid, in part because foreign aid became such a prominent element in Danish foreign policy and in part because of the degree of domestic interest in development issues.

In 1970, prompted by the publication of the Pearson Report, Partners in Development,6 the government commissioned a review of Danish aid. This review led to the passage of the Act on International Development Cooperation in 1971, which for the first time formulated the objectives of Danish aid: “The objective of Denmark's public assistance to the developing countries is through cooperation with the governments and authorities of these countries to support their efforts to attain economic growth in order through that to contribute towards securing their social progress and political independence.”7 Also at this time, an effort to establish an aid agency independent of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (reflecting fears on the part of those most attentive to the development purposes of Danish aid) was turned back by the government. DANIDA was upgraded to a full department within the ministry.

The rather broad formulation of the purposes of Danish aid and the issue of where DANIDA was located organizationally reflected the various interests maneuvering for influence over the aid. The quarter of Danish aid that was tied to Danish exports had now actively engaged Danish commercial interests (p.195) terests in the program. These aid transfers were associated with the “modern” sector of the better-off countries receiving the aid—thus, the language in the statement of purposes about “economic growth.” The developmental uses of aid, strongly supported by DANIDA and the many NGOs engaged in development advocacy, focused increasingly on “social progress” (which would soon be interpreted as “poverty reduction”).

Continuing to locate DANIDA in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaffirmed the view that Danish aid was part of Danish foreign policy, and upgrading its status to a department underlined its importance in Danish diplomacy. Tensions between diplomatic and development purposes of Danish aid were mild, because Denmark did not have a foreign policy driven by geostrategic concerns. However, Denmark, as a small country on the periphery of Western Europe, did not want to be limited in the scope of its diplomatic presence only to its region. Aid was a vehicle for expanding that presence into distant lands. The choice of which countries to aid—and concomitantly, where to establish Danish embassies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America—was especially influenced by Denmark's choice of development concentration countries, especially those with a commitment to poverty reduction, such as Tanzania. Generous amounts of aid were also means of projecting an image of the country at home and abroad as a humane internationalist—an image that fit the role that Nordic countries had begun to envision for themselves as the “social conscience of the world.”8

But I get ahead of my story. During the 1970s, periodic debates in the Folketing and elsewhere gradually forged a measure of consensus on the implementation of Danish aid: that aid should not carry political conditions and that it should respond to “recipient preferences.” This meant that recipient governments were to play the major role in deciding on the use of the aid, not the government of Denmark. Further, Danish bilateral aid for development purposes would concentrate on the poorest countries—echoing mainstream development thinking of the period that emphasized using aid to meet the “basic human needs” of the poor. With regard to bilateral assistance for commercial purposes, during the 1970s DANIDA began to exercise a greater influence over this aid, now making sure it was not just opportunistic expenditures but also associated with development projects in recipient countries.

In 1980 the Independent Commission for International Development Issues (popularly known as the North-South Commission) issued its report To Ensure Survival—Common Interests of the Industrial and Developing Countries (also known as the “Brandt Report,” from the chair of the commission). Like the Pearson Report of a decade earlier, this study, which contained a number of recommendations involving actions by rich countries to help further development in poor ones, led the Danish government to set up an (p.196) internal commission to review its own development policies. The result of this review, which was called the “Ole Bang Report,” urged that the poverty focus of Danish aid be made more explicit. In its debate on this report, the Folketing chose not to accept this recommendation, to avoid giving the impression that Danish business (which had limited opportunities to sell its exports in the poorest parts of the poorest countries) would be squeezed out of the aid program.

Perhaps the most dramatic debate on Danish aid took place in the parliament in 1985. At that time, the Social-Liberals proposed that Danish aid be increased to 1 percent of GDP by 1992.9 The government was against this idea, but the Social-Liberals, Social Democrats, and other left-wing parties outvoted the government, and the government accepted the policy. This initiative reversed a stagnation in Danish aid over several years between 1981 and 1985, causing it to increase rapidly until it reached 1.0 percent of GNP in 1992 as planned, where it remained for most of the 1990s.

Following the parliamentary vote in 1985, the government produced an Action Plan for Danish aid in 1987 that confirmed the 1 percent goal, reaffirmed the poverty orientation of Danish aid, and also reaffirmed that 25 percent of that aid would continue to be tied to Danish exports. Additionally, the report stated that economic liberalization was needed in much of Africa—reflecting the prevailing development thinking at the time. This represented a shift away from Denmark's traditional position of “recipient preference,” mostly reflecting Denmark's discouraging experience in aiding Tanzania, where a relatively large amount of Danish aid over an extended period of time had little apparent impact on Tanzania's economic progress or the quality of its economic management, both of which had proven disappointing. Furthermore, it was decided that Denmark would adopt a country programming process—something it had avoided in the past because of its previous orientation toward recipient preferences. Thus, Copenhagen would now take a more proactive posture in planning its aid. Finally, the Action Plan sounded several other cross-cutting themes that would influence Danish aid in the 1990s: environmental concerns, gender equality, and human rights. These issues were gaining increasing prominence in a number of aid-giving countries, especially among the NGOs.

In 1988 the parliament decided to change the tied-aid program. It converted the loans to grants and dropped the formal distinction between tied and untied aid. This did not mean, however, that Danish aid was in fact no longer tied to Danish exports. The government maintained an informal tying arrangement and expanded the number of “cooperation countries” (in which bilateral grant aid had been concentrated in the past) to twenty “program countries,” permitting tied aid to be spent in all of them. (This was an effort to reduce the total number of aid recipients to twenty, from the (p.197) sixty that had been aided in the past.) The “program countries” would be chosen according to a number of criteria, including the level of their development and economic needs, the supply of aid from other donors and the capacity of the country to use the aid well, the possibility of promoting environmentally sustainable development and human and gender rights, and the opportunities for engaging Danish business in aiding the country.

What was happening here was an easing in the terms of Danish bilateral aid and a lessening of the obvious tying arrangements, consistent with DAC practices at the time. But tying nevertheless remained a part of that aid, and the government consistently stuck to that position. Along with the Japanese and the French, the Danes resisted pressures to untie its aid up through the end of the century, including scuttling an international agreement among aid-giving governments on untying aid that was almost reached in 2000.10 This was pure domestic politics—the Danes were fearful of losing the support of the business community for their (relatively) large aid program and losing the six thousand to eight thousand jobs in Danish enterprises that were thought to depend on that aid.11 Thus, while some aspects of Danish bilateral aid had become more accommodating to the development purposes of that aid during the period of “consolidation,” aid's commercial goals, especially through tying, continued to be protected by the government, albeit those commercial purposes were increasingly constrained by development criteria.


The 1990s were a period of expanding purposes for Danish aid, as they were for many other aid-giving governments. But first of all, as part of a reorganization of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the wake of the end of the Cold War, it was decided fully to integrate DANIDA into the ministry. After 1991 there would be no separate department for DANIDA nor (apart from technical experts) even a separate career staff. The ministry was divided into “North” and “South,” and DANIDA (now applied to activities rather than to an organizational entity) occupied much of what went on in the “South.” At the same time, greater authority over aid decisions was decentralized to Danish embassies in the field, now also fully integrated to include both former DANIDA and Foreign Ministry staff. Perhaps to fortify the development purposes of Danish aid in light of the full merger of DANIDA into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in 1993 the government reestablished the post of minister of development cooperation (within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

In 1992, around the time of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, the Folketing voted (again against (p.198) the government's wishes) to create a new Environment and Disaster Relief Facility and to fund it with a further increase in Danish aid by 0.5 percent of GNP by 2005. This facility, implemented by the Ministries of Environment and of Foreign Affairs, was in part stimulated by the Rio Conference and by the rising prominence both of environmental issues and problems of conflict in developing countries, especially in Africa. (The name of this facility was later changed to Environment, Peace and Stability Facility and eventually divided into an Environment Facility and a Peace and Stability Fund.) In the following year, a Secretariat for Environment and Sustainable Development was created to manage funds for these purposes. Though not acknowledged as such at the time, these initiatives were a de facto recognition of the increasing importance of two of the new purposes of aid in the 1990s—addressing global problems (which included the environment) and managing conflict.

It was also in 1992 that Denmark reached the target of aid as 1 percent of GNP. It is notable that to achieve this target, Danish aid increased rapidly in the early 1990s even though overall government spending declined. The priority ascribed to Danish aid was strong enough to protect it from budget cuts—in contrast to many other aid-giving countries during the early 1990s.

Changes also took place in the use of Danish aid for commercial purposes. One result of the shift in the way tied aid was managed in the late 1980s was a drop in the proportion of Danish aid spent on Danish goods and services. In an effort to offset that drop, the government undertook several initiatives in favor of Danish industry, including in 1993 a new “mixed-credit” program (in which aid monies were mixed with export credits to reduce interest charges and create attractive financing packages for Danish exporters).12 The government also created a Private Sector Development program to support the establishment of partnerships between Danish firms and enterprises in developing countries, thus promoting Danish investments abroad as well as the development of the private sector in poor countries. While the business community at first resisted the shift away from tied aid (and, by implication, the use of aid to promote exports), by the end of the decade, Danish businesses and their umbrella organization, the Confederation of Danish Industries (Dansk Industri), had become enthusiastic about partnering with enterprises in developing countries to further private sector development there. (Such partnerships could also eventually help expand the demand for Danish exports, of which Danish industry was well aware.)

Giving more prominence to the use of aid for conflict management in 1993, Denmark initiated a program of Transitional Assistance for countries undergoing political change, whether from conflict or shift of political regime. Most of the recipients of this aid were countries emerging from conflict, (p.199) such as Liberia, Cambodia, or Rwanda. Aid for political transitions in the poorer countries of the former socialist bloc—for example, Albania and Mongolia—was also included in this initiative. Denmark also began to provide assistance to support economic and political transitions in countries of Central and Eastern Europe. This aid was coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and implemented by eighteen other government ministries and agencies. Finally, in 1990 the government set up a Democracy Fund to provide such support for Eastern Europe and the Baltic countries. (This fund's activities were later extended to developing countries as well.) Thus, by 1993, we can see in Danish aid signs of the new purposes also evident in the aid programs of other aid-giving governments: aid for global problems (mainly the environment); aid for democracy and for economic and political transitions; and the beginnings of aid for conflict management.

In 1994 the new Social-Democratic-led government produced a revised aid strategy document, entitled A Developing World: Strategy for Danish Development Policy towards the Year 2000, also known as Strategy 2000. In preparing this strategy, the ministry engaged the domestic “resource base” supporting foreign aid in an extended consultation. This process was as important to the government as a means of constituency strengthening as was the final policy document it produced. The document itself can be seen in part as a restatement of past aid policies—in particular, the emphasis on poverty reduction, with the added detail of how that goal would be accomplished (that is, concentrating aid in low-income countries and especially poor areas in those countries and financing activities in the social sector). However, this document can also be read as confirming the rise of newer purposes in Danish aid. Global problems—in particular, the environment and (after the UN conference on population) population issues—were highlighted. Gender equality and the importance of promoting human rights and democracy were also included.

Strategy 2000 reaffirmed the earlier decision to concentrate Danish aid in twenty “program countries” and called for an increased use of sector-wide assistance programs (SWAPs—the financing of approved investment budgets of particular ministries, such as health or agriculture, in developing countries), implying a move away from the funding of projects. This change, which was also adopted by a number of other aid agencies, was intended to improve the flexibility and effectiveness of Danish aid. Finally, Strategy 2000 described Danish policies in international organizations as “active multilateralism”—signaling a more energetic engagement on the part of the government in pursuing the development objectives of its aid in multilateral aid agencies.

Six years later, in 2000, the government issued yet another new strategy paper, called Partnership 2000.13 This paper reaffirmed past policy commitments (p.200) but added several new priorities: addressing the problem of HIV/ AIDS (another element in what I have termed “global problems”); addressing the well-being of children and youth; and explicitly addressing the issue of conflict prevention and management. Global problems and conflict management, along with poverty reduction and human rights, were increasingly prominent among the priorities of Danish foreign policy.

To sum up the evolving profile of Danish aid during the twentieth century, three interesting trends stand out. One is the rapid rise in that aid throughout part of the 1970s to the end of the century, based on broad public support and the engagement of key elements of Danish society—especially NGOs and the business community—in the aid program. Aid for development was popular enough that the Folketing twice forced the government to accept higher levels of aid than it had planned or wanted.

Second, there was over time an increasingly explicit focus on poverty reduction as the stated main purpose of Danish aid. It would be mistaken, however, to conclude that in the competition for influence over Danish aid, NGO and development interests won out over commercial interests. There has been a conscious effort on the part of government toward compromise—in particular, to ensure that Danish commercial interests are protected in the Danish aid program, often offsetting changes in favor of poverty reduction with initiatives beneficial to business. Third, during the 1990s, when the rhetorical emphasis on poverty reduction as the core focus of Danish aid was the most explicit, other purposes were added.

The New Century: A Reorientation

The election of 2001 brought a significant shift in Danish politics, the victory of a right-of-center liberal-conservative alliance,14 which included for the first time the Danish People's Party (DFP), a far right party. Because it was the third largest party in the Folketing, the Danish People's Party (albeit not a member of the government itself) was a critical member of the coalition in parliament on which the government relied to pass its legislation.

This shift toward the right in Danish politics reflected a growing dissatisfaction among the Danish population with liberal immigration policies and high taxes. (In fact, the two were linked in the election campaign of 2001.) Further, the Liberal Party campaigned on a promise to increase expenditures on health care and reduce foreign aid to fund them. It also said that it would no longer be bound by Denmark's policy of providing 1 percent of its GNP in foreign aid, though it promised that aid would still be above the 0.7 percent UN target.

Upon taking office, the new government proceeded to reduce Danish aid by 10 percent, bringing it down to 0.9 percent of GNP in 2002. It also reversed (p.201) versed the earlier policy of putting aside an additional 0.5 percent of GNP for environmental, peace, and stability projects, reduced the budget for those projects by 50 percent, and transferred responsibility for them from the Ministry of Environment to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The government also reduced the number of its countries of concentration, canceled programs in several countries regarded as having a record of poor governance, and eliminated several advisory committees (though not the DANIDA Board). The government eliminated the post of minister of development (within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).15 The opposition Social Democratic party objected strongly to the cuts, arguing that “Our claim of being world leaders in foreign aid has been destroyed.”16 However, there was little public protest of the reduction in aid; in fact, half the public supported the reduction in foreign aid, with only 36 percent against.17 Finally, the Social Democratic party found itself indirectly supporting the cut in aid in order to fund an increase in funding for health care at home, something on which it put a high priority.18

In 2002 the new government completed a review of Danish aid. It announced that “the Government wishes to break with the habitual thinking of years which dictates that if only assistance increases everything will be good.”19 It put considerable emphasis on democracy, human rights, and good governance as criteria for Danish aid, deciding to eliminate aid to Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Eritrea and to limit aid to other governments not meeting these criteria. It also put heightened emphasis on promoting the private sector in developing countries and promised to “boost the possibilities for Danish enterprises to contribute to the development of the private sector.”20 Later, in 2003, the government produced a white paper, A World of Difference: The Government's Vision for New Priorities in Danish Development Assistance 2004–2008,21 that listed the priorities for Danish aid in the future. Poverty reduction was the “number one priority.” Next came human rights, democratization and governance; stability, security, and the fight against terrorism; refugees, humanitarian assistance with a special emphasis on the countries from which refugees in Denmark originated; the environment; and social and economic development. It is worth noting that this list referenced the fight against terrorism and refugees—two issues that had not been priorities in the past. They were, in fact, linked and reflected the unease in Denmark about the influx of refugees and the growing resistance among the population to further immigration. If something could be done to stabilize and assist countries from whence the refugees came, it might be possible to stem the flow.

The question arose as to how far the new government would go in cutting and reorienting Danish aid. The general view in 2003, based on interviews with senior officials, was that the government would not cut the aid (p.202) further (and it did not do so in the 2003 budget) and that it would not attempt fundamentally to reorient Danish aid away from its past emphasis on poverty reduction. The position of Denmark as a “front-runner” in aid-giving was too important to lose, and the support in Denmark for aid to reduce poverty was too widespread to ignore.22 In a paper published in 2004, the government confirmed its intent to remain “in the forefront internationally [of development assistance] and this is to be maintained in the future…. Denmark's position in the forefront of the donor field provides clout and influence.”23

That white paper also had the following language, however:

Since it came into office, the Government has worked to strengthen the effort to help refugees, the internally displaced and the permanently resident local populations in the refugees' regions of origin and areas marked by illegal migration. The activities in regions of origin will be strengthened in the coming years. Direct Danish region of origin assistance will continue to be developed in relation to activities and possible new countries of activity….

… By means of the region of origin initiative, it should be possible to also improve conditions in the home regions of the refugees and internally displaced, giving them the possibility of returning home.

A link with the Danish national refugees effort must be established. What we do abroad and what we do at home must pull in the same direction.

This language reflected the concern of the ruling coalition regarding refugees within Denmark and its intent to use aid in the future to reduce refugee flows, above all by helping to improve conditions in their countries of origin. Further underlining the relationship between aid and reducing refugee flows was a government decision in August 2004 to re-create the portfolio of minister of development and give it to the new minister of immigration and integration (the latter term referring to the absorption of refugees into the Danish society and economy). This change did not mean that the management of Danish aid programs would be transferred to the new ministry. That responsibility remained in the Foreign Ministry. Only the responsibilities of the ministerial position (policy and public spokesperson on development) were shifted.

The combination of the development and immigration portfolios—even if only temporarily vested in the same person—was an unusual move. No other aid-giving government had moved to combine these two types of responsibilities. It appears that it was undertaken in part to please the conservative Danish People's Party (a key element in the government's parliamentary governing coalition), whose leader commented, “We've long supported (p.203) ported pairing immigration policy and Third World Aid funds to provide help in neighboring refugee countries. And beyond that, I'm confident that refugee returns will be accelerated.”24 After the election of January 2005, the development portfolio was returned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The emphasis on reducing and even reversing the refugee flow to Denmark with foreign aid reappeared in the government's August 2005 report Globalisation—Progress through Partnership: Priorities of the Danish Government for Danish Development Assistance 2006–2010. Among the nine priorities for Danish aid was

Regions of origin—coherence home and abroad

The Government will strengthen Danish development assistance in regions of origin. The policy will aim to improve the living conditions of both displaced and local populations. An important goal will be that refugees and internally displaced persons as quickly as possible are given the opportunity to return and establish themselves either where they come from or close to their home areas. The government will increase the total funding allocated to efforts in regions of origin … and simultaneously work for the establishment of a global repatriation facility.25

These statements and shifts in responsibilities for the aid portfolio did not turn development aid into aid to reduce refugee flows and repatriate refugees already in Denmark. But it did demonstrate a readiness, at least among some Danish officials, to shift Danish aid in this direction (creating, in effect, a new purpose for Danish aid)—a tendency that seemed likely to gain momentum in the future, given the sensitivity of the refugee issue in the governing coalition and among the Danish public.


The profile of Danish aid raises three main questions that will guide my political analysis: What factors influenced the purposes of Danish aid? Why did the Danes decide to become and remain the largest aid donor relative to the size of their country's economy? And what do the changes in the new century tell us about the underlying politics of Danish aid and its likely future purposes?


It is difficult to be a Dane. Seen from the outside, most would say that the opposite was true: That being Danish is the easiest thing in the world. The country is well run, well organised, there is very little difference between (p.204) high and low, rich and poor, the social safety net is securely in place, etc., etc. Even so, we still feel that something isn't quite right. We don't, for example, travel abroad with the same air of nonchalance as a German or Swede or an American. We are a little more unassuming, we don't raise our voice in restaurants or other public places. Mentally, I suppose you could say we stand there with our hat in our hand, apologetic, a little self-effacing. Except when we do find a role we're comfortable with….

Thus began a delightful essay entitled “Oh! To Be Danish,” posted on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.26 The tenor and tone of the essay capture the challenge to Denmark of finding a role for itself in the post–World War II world. As a small country on the edge of Western Europe, Denmark could not wield significant influence in the Cold War or even play a major role in European issues. Could it find a niche internationally where it could “punch above its weight”?27

One arena where it found that niche proved to be in development cooperation. Its high and rising (relative) aid levels and its policy emphasis on poverty reduction and development in poor countries were seen as providing the country with a role consistent with its size and values, while enhancing its status in the field of development cooperation. This generous aid policy created a reputation “of democratic and humanistic principles that contributes to the good international reputation and status of Denmark.”28

Danish aid thus became a significant element in Denmark's foreign policy and its image of itself in the world as a leading “humane internationalist.” This idea of its aid and its role in the world are understandable, given the constraints of size and geography on Danish foreign policy. But the choice of that role was by no means inevitable. Other small countries—for example, Austria, Canada, Finland, and Ireland—have chosen to provide much smaller amounts of aid as a proportion of their gross national income.29 To understand this choice, we must dig deeper into the widely shared ideas held among Danes about the appropriate relationship between rich and poor and the role of the state in society.

Denmark has been among the most enthusiastic supporters of the welfare state30 in the post–World War II world, offering a wide array of government services to the entire population, funded by relatively high taxes. Behind the broad acceptance of the welfare state in Denmark is a long history—of an emphasis on social justice and equality within Danish society and an acceptance that the state is an appropriate vehicle for realizing these goals. In the words of one observer: “The role of the state is the dominant element in the broad interpretation of the major features of Danish modern social history.”31 It was a short step for the Danes to view public aid for poverty (p.205) reduction abroad as a logical extension of these widely accepted values and practices. Indeed, the same observer commented on “the very strong Danish tradition of support for forms of social development through public expenditure. This tradition has created a broad sympathy for the idea of transfer of resources from the rich North to the poor South, as an internationalization of the welfare state and the implied public support for social development.”32 Those views were reflected in high and rising public support for Danish aid over much of the period of this study—in 1998, for example, 84 percent of Danes thought that aid to developing countries was “important,” and before the election campaign in 2001, a poll found that 70 percent of Danes thought that the relatively high level of Danish aid (over 1 percent of GNP) should “remain unchanged.”33

There is one more idea that informed the Danish approach to foreign aid, contributing to the ability of the government to create and maintain broad public support for Denmark's relatively large aid program. That is the value in Danish culture placed on reaching compromises and consensus among differing views. As one of Denmark's experts on aid observed, “there is a tradition, within the political culture of Denmark, of political consensus.”34 The tendency toward political compromise is evident in the policy changes in Danish aid overtime. For example, when commercial interests lost an advantage in one area (e.g., ending formally tied aid loans in 1988), they were given another (an expansion in the number of countries where “informally” tied aid could be spent). In another example, when a move to take DANIDA out of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was rejected, DANIDA was elevated in status within the ministry; when DANIDA was fully integrated into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the post of minister of development cooperation was reestablished. Compromise as a cultural norm in Danish politics has undoubtedly been strengthened in the area of aid policies by the tactics of successive governments wishing to manage aid issues and debates in a way that retains the support of the aid “resource base” (that is, the constituencies supporting aid) and the public for foreign assistance.

These ideas provided frames, and behavioral norms may have predisposed Denmark to supporting large amounts of aid with an emphasis on development. However, it was interests and political institutions in Denmark that helped put aid and development, as well as other purposes, on the political agenda and helped decide the amount and direction of Danish assistance.


Denmark is a constitutional monarchy based on a parliamentary system and proportional representation. This arrangement has produced a number of (p.206) political parties—between eight and ten at most periods. It has also produced minority governments for most of the second half of the twentieth century, often involving a Conservative-Liberal bloc (somewhat more business oriented—the basis of the government in 2001 and again in 2005) or a Social Democratic–led bloc (somewhat more left oriented). Minority governments must maintain a coalition within the Folketing adequate to get their legislation passed. That can involve relying on an informal coalition of often small parties (not necessarily all of which are within the government). These parties, as the price of their support for government policies in parliament, can put their own issues—including development aid—on the national agenda. On occasion, groupings of parties in parliament can pass legislation even over the objections of government, thus forcing action on their favored issues. The tendencies toward minority governments have “given the Folketing and the political parties a quite extraordinary influence on the policies of changing governments, including North-South policy.”35

When one minority party can make or break a coalition and, therefore, a government, the issues important to that party become important to the entire government. The Radical-Liberals—a relatively small party—were often the swing party in parliamentary coalitions during much of the period of this study. Foreign aid was one of their concerns, and they were thus able to ensure a high priority for generous aid for development in government policies, with the support of other left-leaning coalition parties.36 It was this party that in 1985 proposed in the Folketing that the government adopt a target of 1 percent of GNP for Danish aid (over the opposition of the government at the time). Later, in 1992, they proposed the creation (again over government opposition) of the Environment and Disaster Relief Facility to expand aid yet further, which was also passed in the Folketing.

Thus, a combination of broad popular support for aid combined with the nature of Denmark's political institutions and parties led to high levels of aid and a focus on the development purpose of that aid. A third example of a party in the government's coalition pushing aid-related issues is the 2004 decision by the center-right government to shift the portfolio of minister of development to the new Ministry of Immigration, Integration, and Development. The speculation, noted above, was that it had much to do with placating the Danish People's Party—an important element in the government's coalition in parliament and one that was hostile to refugees in Denmark and saw development aid as a tool for reducing their numbers.

Another aspect of Danish political institutions is the active engagement in aid issues—even involving approval of specific projects—by the parliament, lending an unusual degree of transparency to Danish aid-giving. This has had two important consequences for Danish aid. First, the parliament—and by implication, the Danish public—has participated in (p.207) periodic and extended debates on foreign aid, based on a series of reports and major legislative initiatives involving that aid. These debates, in turn, have helped inform parliamentarians and the public on aid matters and, because there were few attacks on the legitimacy or effectiveness of that aid, have served to develop a degree of understanding and support for Danish aid among the population and political elites (in the terms used earlier in this study—embracing the norm that affluent Denmark should provide substantial aid to poor countries). The consensus on high aid levels and their continuity over time did not prevent a substantial cut in Danish aid in 2001 with the assumption of power of a center-right government, but it appears to have limited that cut to a one-time phenomenon.


The major groups of interests engaged in Danish aid have been mentioned. Diplomatic and development interests tended to merge more in Denmark than in the other countries considered in this book. Within the government, these interests were located in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Outside the government, some two hundred NGOs of various kinds were involved in Danish aid as advocates, implementers, educators of the public, or all three: churches and missionary societies, cooperatives, unions, public interest groups, and several large relief and development-oriented organizations, including the Danish Red Cross, DanChurchAid, Mellemfolkligt Samvirke (Danish Association for International Cooperation), and numerous smaller ones. The relatively large number of NGOs with an interest in relief and development is part of a larger tradition of extensive and active civil society organizations in the country. In the words of one expert on Danish aid, “There is no doubt that the Danish NGOs … exerted considerable influence on selected parts of the Danish aid policy,” in particular, with regard to the participation of the beneficiaries of development in determining how the aid was used, plus the importance ascribed to human rights, gender issues, and the environment. This same expert suggests, however, that the close relationship between the major NGOs and the government (and their reliance on government funding) led to their being “coopted,” reducing their willingness to criticize government policies.37

Danish industry, especially firms wishing to export abroad, has been active in Danish aid, primarily through the Confederation of Danish Industries, the organization representing the interests of Danish enterprises. While the goals of Danish business in engaging with foreign aid have shifted somewhat during the period of this study, from primarily export expansion to strengthening the private sector in developing countries, the importance of exports and of the jobs at home dependent on them has not vanished. It (p.208) appears, for example, that in 2002 the new government was considering eliminating Danish aid for Vietnam along with several other country programs it canceled but decided not to do so because of the interests of Danish business in the sizable and promising Vietnamese market.38 While not as prominent as the Danish Business Council, the Danish Agricultural Council, toward the end of the 1990s, also began to support the establishment and strengthening of similar organizations in developing countries.


Another important factor explaining the amount and purpose of Danish aid is the way the government was organized to manage its aid. Two characteristics of the organization of Danish aid make it quite unusual: one is that DANIDA has always been located within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and by the end of the century, was fully integrated into that Ministry. The second is an institutional arrangement that gave the constituency for aid formal access and influence over the program—the DANIDA Board. Let us consider the impact of these arrangements on the purposes of Danish aid. Figure 7.2 shows in a highly simplified form the elements in the organization of Danish aid at the end of the twentieth century. In contrast to countries I've presented in the other cases, Danish aid is unified in one government ministry. Because of the influential role of the DANIDA Board and the

Denmark: The Humane Internationalist

Fig. 7.2. The Organization of Danish Aid, 2003

Source: DAC, Development Cooperation Review: Denmark (OECD, Paris, 2003), 18, (accessed October 2005).

(p.209) Folketing and the relationship between the two, however, I have shown them as part of the overall organization chart.

The location of DANIDA within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave Danish aid a prominence and importance in Danish foreign affairs (and an influence within government) that it would likely have lacked if DANIDA had been created as a subcabinet-level agency independent of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as was proposed and rejected in the early 1970s. This arrangement also gave DANIDA a measure of bureaucratic protection from temptations on the part of other ministries to try to influence the use of aid resources—a protection that it would not have had if it had been an autonomous agency. Finally, combining policy with implementation in the same organization provided DANIDA with an experienced, coherent voice on development aid within the ministry. And because the goals of Danish diplomacy seldom contradicted the developmental purposes of the aid, the often strong tensions between diplomatic and developmental purposes found in aid programs of other countries were little in evidence in Denmark. (What may be developing in Danish aid, however, are tensions between domestic policies favoring the repatriation of refugees in Denmark and the broader development goals of Danish aid. This emerging purpose of Danish aid can influence the country allocation and use of aid and these could conceivably undercut the development purpose, especially if countries of origin are poor development performers.)

A second unusual aspect of the organization of Danish aid was the DANIDA Board. The Board was established in the original law creating the Danish aid program, passed in 1962. Whether originally envisioned or not, the board came to perform several important functions vis-à-vis Danish aid. With representatives from various areas of Danish civil society, this Board in effect formalized access and ensured influence over Danish aid for its various constituencies. Thus, the Board became a vehicle for creating and maintaining a constituency within Denmark of sufficient size and strength to carry forward a relatively large aid program. The Board's ample representation from Danish civil society also ensured that even though DANIDA was part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there was not undue diplomatic influence over the allocation and use of Danish aid. But what really gave DANIDA clout over Danish aid was the importance of its imprimatur for the parliament. Government typically would not send aid projects and proposals to parliament without the support of the DANIDA Board. (I am not aware of any other aid agency that has ceded as much authority to an external advisory board as has DANIDA.) Part of the “deal” in being on the board was to analyze and critique Danish aid proposals when they were first floated, but then to defend them to the board member's constituency and the public. The potential tensions among board members and other constituents (p.210) of aid over the purposes of that aid—especially the development versus commercial purposes—were managed by ensuring that major elements of the constituency had a piece of the aid.

A third element is the role of the Folketing. It was the active engagement of this legislative body in Danish aid issues and its expectation that proposals (including specific aid projects) would be presented to it for consideration only after the DANIDA Board had approved them that gave the board its extraordinary influence over Danish aid.

This unusual organizational arrangement was stable over several decades. As with other aspects of Danish aid in early 2005, it is not clear whether these arrangements face fundamental change as the Danish parliament and government move to align Danish aid more with the refugee policies of the center-right governing coalition.

Summing Up

Why did Denmark become the largest donor relative to its gross national income and remain so over several years? The ideas shaping Danish aid supported such an approach and the Danish government framed the aid in terms of broadly shared values in Danish society—involving both the obligations of the rich to the poor and the role of Denmark in the world—to solidify public backing of a relatively large amount of aid. The institutions of the Danish political system encouraged a policy of generous aid-giving, especially the reliance on minority governments with a social democratic orientation, where small parties (with a particular interest in development and aid) could periodically exert considerable influence. Key interests inside and outside government (including, importantly, both diplomatic and development-oriented interests) reinforced one another in supporting the amount, country allocation, and use of aid. And the organization of Danish aid privileged the development orientation of that aid (through the DANIDA Board) and sought to engage commercial interests as well. The commercial engagement and orientation of Danish aid was a price paid for broad support.

Furthermore, the government proved adept at engaging public backing for foreign aid. Early on, the government undertook to inform its public on aid through its own activities and information but also through working with NGOs that supported aid. NGOs were urged to do their own “development education” with the Danish public through conferences on aid-related issues, exchanges of persons with developing countries, programs in the schools aimed at educating youth, and a host of other activities. In the 1990s the Danish government spent roughly $4 million per year on “development education” (rising to $10 million by the end of the decade)—double what (p.211) the United States spent for a population over fifty times as large. All of these factors help explain both the high levels of Danish aid and the emphasis on development and related purposes. But then, how can we explain what at first seemed like a sudden and sharp shift in the amount and possibly the orientation of Danish aid after the election in 2001?

What this shift shows is, first, the importance of how the ideas justifying aid are presented to the public. In contrast to the Social Democrats, the Liberal-Conservative coalition that won election in 2001 did not talk about aid as an obligation of the rich to help the poor but reframed aid as trading off with domestic expenditures, especially on health, in a time of budget stringencies. Resource shortages at home were seen to have some relationship with high taxes and high levels of immigration (which itself brought high costs to Denmark in the social services provided immigrants). The reframing of aid-giving helps explain why public opinion, which had been so supportive of high levels of aid turned so quickly to support cuts in aid. Finally, the very political dynamic that supported high aid levels—the coalition politics associated with a parliamentary system based on proportional representation—can also produce the opposite result: that is, support within government for reducing aid levels based on center-right coalition politics.

However, the changes in aid-giving undertaken by the new government proved limited. Aid fell in 2001 and 2002 but rose again in 2003. Government statements on aid took on a more hard-headed tone, with more emphasis put on selectivity of recipients, the importance of results, and issues of national security, conflict, and terrorism. But poverty reduction remained at the top of the government's priorities for aid-giving. There was no major rupture in the purposes or amount of Danish aid despite the shift from a left-oriented to a right-oriented government (although there were ample signs of the rising importance of refugee management and repatriation as a purpose of Danish aid). Being a “front-runner” in aid-giving had become embedded in the Danes' image of themselves vis-à-vis the rest of the world and a genuine expression of their identities and norms. Further, the government, over many years, had built a broad “resource base” for high levels of aid-giving to fight poverty abroad. That base remained strongly supportive of development aid even though the political orientation of the government changed. And the voice for aid-giving inside the Danish government—the Ministry of Foreign Affairs—was an influential one. The inevitable conclusion is that, with foreign aid as with other public policies and programs, while political leadership can change dramatically, fundamental policies and broadly shared values, identities, and understandings do not shift so rapidly.


(1.) Olav Stokke has defined humane internationalism thus: “(i) the acceptance of an obligation to alleviate global poverty and to promote social and economic development in the Third World; (ii) a conviction that a more equitable world would be in the best long-term interests of the Western, industrial nations; and (iii) the assumption that meeting these international responsibilities is compatible with the maintenance of a socially responsible national economic and social welfare policy.” See Olav Stokke, “Determinants of Aid Policies: Introduction,” in Western Middle Powers and Global Poverty, ed. Olav Stokke (Uppsala: Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, with the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, 1989), 11. The designation of Denmark as a “front-runner” came from the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in its various peer reviews and commentaries on Danish aid.

(2.) Ellen Hanak and Michael Loft, “Danish Development Assistance to Tanzania and Kenya, 1962–85: Its Importance to Agricultural Development,” in Aid to African Agriculture: Lessons of Two Decades of Experience, ed. Uma Lele (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), 171.

(3.) DAC, “International Development Statistics (IDS) Online” (accessed March 2006).

(4.) The increase was even greater in terms of Danish kroner—nearly quadrupling in value.

(5.) Hanak and Loft, “Danish Development Assistance,” 177. Isak Dinesen's best-known book on Kenya is Out of Africa (New York: Random House, 1938).

(6.) Lester Pearson, Partners in Development, Report of the Commission on International Development (created by the World Bank) (New York: Praeger, 1969).

(7.) Cited in Knud Erik Svendsen, “Denmark: Social Development and International Development Cooperation” in Welfare, Development and Security: Three Danish Essays (Copenhagen: Danish National Institute of Social Research, 1995), 47.

(8.) See Patricia Bliss McFate, “To See Everything in Another Light,” Daedalus, Winter 1984, 48.

(9.) One observer of Danish aid speculates that the benefit to the Social Liberals of this initiative is that “the party could raise its profile on the North-South issue at no cost; because the government, which the party supported in other respects, did not resign.” See (p.263) Gorm Rye Olsen, “Danish Development Policy: The Art of Compromise,” Forum for Development Studies, no. 1–2 (1994): 283.

(11.) Cited in Gorm Rye Olsen, “Danish Aid Policy in the Post Cold War Period: Increasing Resources and Minor Adjustments” (working paper 02.15, Center for Development Research, Copenhagen, 2002), 5.

(12.) These credits, however, were permitted only in countries where commercial financing would not be available and for approved development activities, in accord with the 1992 Helsinki Arrangement on mixed credits, agreed to by OECD member states.

(14.) The “Liberal” party in Denmark started life many decades ago as a left-wing party but became a right-wing party over time, reflecting commercial interests, among others.

(15.) These are the major changes made by the new government affecting Danish aid. For more details, see DAC, Development Co-operation Review: Denmark (OECD, Paris, 2003), (accessed March 2006).

(17.) “Public Support for Aid Cuts,” Copenhagen Post, February 19, 2002.

(18.) “Support for Private Health Bill—and Aid Cuts,” Copenhagen Post, March 15, 2002.

(21.) See DANIDA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, “A World of Difference: The Government's Vision for New Priorities in Danish Development Assistance 2004–2008” (Copenhagen, 2003).

(22.) A public opinion poll by Aalborg University and A.C. Nielsen AIM in 2003 found that 68 percent of the public were opposed to any further reductions in Danish aid. Cited in DAC, Development Co-operation Review: Denmark, 21.

(24.) There was also some speculation that the new Minister of Development, Immigration and Integration was awarded the development portfolio as compensation for not having been appointed as Denmark's EU commissioner. See “Minister Primed for Broader Role,” Copenhagen Post, August 12, 2004, There was even some speculation that this move was an effort to shield development aid from pressures from the right-wing People's Party to use it for reducing and repatriating refugees.

(27.) This is a phrase a number of commentators on Danish foreign policy have used. See, for example, Hans-Henrick Holm, “Danish Foreign Policy Activism: Rise and Decline” (Danish School of Journalism, n.d.), (accessed March 2006).

(28.) In response to a question in the Folketing, cited in Holm, “Danish Foreign Policy Activism,” 22. This characterization of the ideas behind Denmark's aid policy—the image and status it accorded the country—is not to suggest that Copenhagen did not take a hard-headed look at its national interests and pursue them vigorously in Scandinavia, the Baltic, Europe, and NATO and at the UN. Denmark put considerable value on maintaining a close, supportive relationship with Washington, while viewing Europe as a main focus of its foreign policy efforts. Development cooperation was only one of Denmark's preoccupations in the world.

(29.) In 2004 Denmark gave 0.85 percent of its GNI. Austria gave 0.2 percent, Canada gave 0.27 percent, Finland gave 0.35 percent, and Ireland gave 0.39 percent. The most generous country that year was Norway, providing 0.87 percent of its GNI in aid; the least generous was Italy at 0.15 percent. See DAC, “International Development Statistics (IDS) Online” (accessed March 2006).

(30.) By 2003 the Danes were avoiding the term “welfare state,” having replaced it with “welfare society” in an effort to expand the responsibilities for social welfare to society and individuals within it. This change in terminology reflected a backlash against the welfare state (and its heavy tax burden) that helped carry the center-right coalition to power in 2001 and to reelection in 2005.

(31.) Svendsen, “Denmark,” 37.

(33.) Olsen, “Danish Aid Policy”; “Public Support for Aid Cuts,” Copenhagen Post, February 19, 2002.

(34.) Olsen, “Danish Development Policy,” 282.

(36.) Hans Lembke, “Denmark's Development Cooperation Policy” (photocopy, German Development Institute, Bonn, 1985); and Knud Erik Svendsen, “Danish Aid: Old Bottles,” in Western Middle Powers and Global Poverty, ed. Olav Stokke (Uppsala: Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, with the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, 1989), 91–116.

(37.) Olsen, “Danish Aid Policy,” 18–19. The new government installed after the election of 2001 decided to reduce the concentration of Danish aid on a handful of major NGOs and announced it would be dispersed much more widely among those and the many smaller NGOs as well.

(38.) Confidential interview, Copenhagen, November 2003.

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