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Denmark launches ‘Opportunity Africa’

21.10.2013  16:15

The Danish government is launching a new political initiative ‘Opportunity Africa’ in order to boost Denmark’s presence in Africa. Opportunity Africa combines foreign policy, development co-operation as well as trade and investment. The initiative supports an inclusive and green economic growth in Africa.

Despite the positive economic development the past decade in African countries, they still face risks and challenges that could undermine or even reverse their achievements. These risks include extreme poverty, inequality, fragile states and defining the right type of governance to ensure sustainable exploitation of natural resources.

The Danish government wants a closer co-operation with partners in Africa who work for inclusive growth, job creation and entrepreneurship in Africa. Therefore there is a need for an intensified economic diplomacy at the intergovernmental level in Africa, to promote reforms which support inclusive and green growth on the continent. This growth would be sustainable and self-strengthening – ensuring the African citizens further economic self-determination.

Denmark has for many decades been a world front runner in supporting good governance as well as economic development in Africa with its development co-operation. Denmark is one of the few countries in the world that meets the UN target of giving at least 0.7 per cent of the country’s Gross National Income in foreign aid.

“We want to provide better support to the Danish companies in order to pass the threshold to the African markets, so they can contribute in meeting local development needs and create more green growth and employment. In 2013 and 2014, Denmark will pledge approximately 3.8 billion DKK for inclusive and green growth in Africa, mainly through bilateral development co-operation with priority countries, where we spend 3 billion DKK,” says Christian Friis Bach, Minister of Development Cooperation in Denmark.

“In 2013/2014, our development cooperation will include pledges of approximately 840 million Danish Kroner in support through regional and sub-regional African institutions which have an important role to play in the scramble to seize the current momentum for growth in Africa.”

The total Danish export in goods with African countries, which Denmark has prioritized development cooperation with, amounted to 782.5 million DKK in 2012. However in light of the high average GDP growth in African countries, this figure could become much higher in the upcoming years.

“There is a huge demand in Africa for sustainable investments in order to boost inclusive and green economic growth in the region. I think regional economic integration, development cooperation and commercial engagement must often go hand in hand in order to make this happen,” says Nick Hækkerup, Minister of Trade and European Affairs in Denmark.

“The increasing need for energy and continued strain on natural resources in African countries demand governments and private companies work together in order to ensure that economic growth is sustainable and inclusive.”

The new initiative “Opportunity Africa” highlights the synergies between the Danish support to regional integration and sustainable economic growth in Africa; Danish development cooperation in Africa and Danish bilateral trade with African countries.

For further information please contact:
Frej Jackson, press advisor to the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, phone: +45 29724477, e-mail: frejac@um.dk