Chapter

Denmark: The Humane Internationalist

in Foreign Aid

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780226470436
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226470627 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226470627.003.0007
Denmark: The Humane Internationalist

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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

Chapter.  9566 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Relations

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