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A story of dairy projects, dirt roads

and developers, values and water pumps,

solidarity, successes and shortcomings
and a few white elephants


With a population of around 150 million and a land area just three times that of Denmark, Bangladesh is the
world's second most densely populated country, after Singapore. In the early 1970s, women in Bangladesh had
over six children on average. Today that average is 2.5 thanks to the support of countries like Denmark.

A snapshot
of five decades
Anniversary publication 50 years of Danida
Editor in Chief according
to the Media Liability Act
Jesper Ferslv Andersen, Head of Press Office,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
Editorial team
Stefan Katic and Ulrikke Moustgaard Andersen
Jesper Heldgaard og Jeppe Villadsen
(Page 62-64: Hanne Srine Srensen)
Research on maps and figures
Publikum Kommunikation
Flemming Axmark + Publikum
Nigel Mander
Layout and print
Design and layout: India (part of e-types)
Paper: 150 gram Munken Polar
Print: Arco Grafisk
Danida, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
Asiatisk Plads 2,
DK-1448 Copenhagen K, Denmark
Facts about the publication
Publication date: 14 March 2012
Published in a Danish edition (issued jointly
with Udvikling [Development] 2/12)
and an English edition both can be
ordered free of charge from:
Copies English edition: 3,000
Copies Danish edition: 19,000
ISBN 978-87-7087-612-2 (paper)
ISBN 978-87-7087-613-9 (electronic)

It is impossible to describe an elephant and all that comprises it

in 52 pages you hardly reach the trunk before all the pages are
filled. Such an elephant is Danida.
Once you start flicking through the pages of Danida's old annual
reports and back issues of the magazine Udvikling [Development],
one thing quickly becomes clear:
Over the years, Danida has been involved in a vast array of
activities in an enormous number of countries. From fighting
grasshoppers in West Africa and supporting the preparation of
a new constitution in Nepal to ensuring that the indigenous
people of Bolivia have deeds for the land they cultivate.
To get reasonably around it all is an impossible task. There is
much that the editorial team would have liked to include, but
have had to omit. How individuals from developing countries
experienced meeting Danish developers. Portraits of some of
the Danida staff who shaped the approach and the work of five
decades. Even the HIV/AIDS epidemics of the 1980s we have
had to reduce to a dot on a timeline.
This anniversary publication is divided into five chapters one for
each decade. Each chapter describes some of the initiatives that
were believed to create development. What were the actions, in the
1960s, 1970s, 1980s and so on, which were thought to be necessary
to raise the standard of living in developing countries?
We probably haven't managed to describe the whole elephant.
Even so, the editorial team hopes that this kaleidoscopic journey
through five decades will stimulate the reader to seek out some of
the fine works that can tell more of the story. It is worth the effort,
because the story of Denmark's development assistance is also the
story of ourselves and Denmark's self-understanding.
The editorial team

p. 3/

4 Introduction by the Minister for Development Cooperation
5 The Danida Brand
8/9 1962-2012 timeline

60s: Danish red cattle are good value

Danida's birth is televised
Why Tanzania?
Learning from the Danes
The coffee fund
The hospital that died
Youthful and refreshing
The Pioneer. Ester the firebrand


70s: Dark days and white elephants

A law without the poor
The scrapheap in Sudan
When elephants change colour
Spreading the message
The Volunteer. The social worker turned ambassador


80s: Frustration in the austere 80s

Broken dreams in Bangladesh
Empowering women
You smile and become cheerful
The Expert. Practical hands and a resourceful mind
Drugs drama with a Danish touch

43/44/45 Results round-up

46 Ministers for Development Cooperation and Danida Board

90s: The fall of the Wall a new era?

Helping the world go green
Flying the flag in Vietnam
Like porn in a church bookshop
An end to scatterguns
Does what we do work?
Refugees put pressure on funds
The Peace Observer. Folmer from Ls engages in democracy
00s: When something breaks
Terror hits the Twin Towers and Danish aid
Africas champion?
Small but big
The Head of Department. Big man in the driving seat
Goodbye to donor rule

72/73 The money goes into the wrong pockets

74/75 Enthusiasm tinged with realism
76/77/78 The eye that sees

p. 4/

p. 5/


the danida Brand

Christian Friis Bach

Minister for Development Cooperation

photo: jakob dall/information/scanpix

to celebrate
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Danida. It was in 1962 that
Denmark's first law on development
cooperation was passed, and since
then Danida has helped broaden our
horizons, extend our influence, and
facilitate peace and prosperity in the
world's poor countries. There have
been ups and downs, successes and failures, directed efforts and misdirected
Former cooperation countries such
as Botswana, Thailand, South Africa
and Vietnam have taken a large leap
up the development ladder. A number
of cooperation countries in Africa are
seeing high rates of growth. And many
developing countries are winning the
battle against poverty. Since 1990, the
number of people living in extreme
poverty has dropped by over 400 million. Over 90 percent of children in the
world's poor countries can now attend
school. But there is still poverty to
combat and rights to fight for.
In this anniversary issue, we look back
at 50 years of Danida history. We have
become wiser since the days when development cooperation consisted of red
Danish dairy cattle and dairy courses.
We have also learned that development
cooperation alone cannot eliminate
poverty, as we thought in 1962. Many
other factors affect both the speed and

direction of development. Development cooperation can initiate change

and support positive trends, but the
great changes are created by the countries themselves, from the bottom up.
We must put the individual's rights and
the priorities of developing countries at
the centre not our own.
2012 will be an important year in
Danida's history. Not only because of
its 50th anniversary, but also because
new legislation on Denmark's development cooperation is under preparation.
The 1971 law reflects an outdated approach to development, with its focus
on projects and donations, whereas
these days our focus is on human rights
and sustainability, partnership and
ownership. With a new strategy for
Denmark's development cooperation,
I hope we can recreate broad political
cooperation on development policy
and create a strong foundation for the
efforts to create a world free from fear,
and free from poverty.
There is plenty to celebrate. But there
is much still to fight for.

Viva la
Republica de
Denmark meets strong competition from the unofficial,
but much better known name of the kingdom in the
developing world: Danida
No doubt they meant Denmark. But
when a Bolivian farmers association
some years ago sent a letter to the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it didn't say
Dinamarca (Denmark) at the end of
the recipient address, but Republica
de Danida.
As a brand, Danida has become better known in certain parts of the world
than the kingdom of Denmark.
There is nothing strange in this. Denmark has spread itself around the globe
in the shape of Danida and Danish
development assistance is outstanding, judging by the assessments made
each year by assistance watchdog DAC
under OECD.

A true survivor
Back home in Denmark, the name
Danida has had a turbulent existence.

Christian Friis Bach

Minister for Development Cooperation

At first Danida was not called Danida,

but the TA Bureau (TA for Technical
Assistance). This was in 1962 the year
the first Danish law on development
assistance is passed.
In 1971 the TA Bureau changed
its name to Danida a contraction of
Danish International Development
Agency. At this time, the organisation
also became a regular department in
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Since then the name has been on the
verge of being discarded several times
each in connection with a change to
the structure of the administration of
development assistance.
Development assistance was for
example incorporated into Denmark's
Foreign Service in 1991. The Danida
name was to be scrapped. But the brand
had become so strong that it survived,
now cleverly reinterpreted as an abbreviation of Danish International

Development Assistance. No longer an

organisation, but an activity.

Mother and daughter

The Danida name has come to represent an intangible force for good. It is
not a physical place that you can look
up in the telephone directory, but a
brand for the activities included in
Danish development assistance.
This perhaps explains why most
people in Denmark, as a 2010 survey
showed, regard Danida as an independent publicly supported organisation on
a par with the Consumer Council.
Danida is not an independent organisation, however. It is (still) connected
to its mother ministry, the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs.

Of course there have to be the

tragic pictures of misery and
catastrophe, but one could also
take photos of the everyday life
that occupies the vast majority
of Africans. Why do we never
see those?

This image of three Himba boys in Namibia is taken from Tine

Harden's football-inspired photo book A kick out of Africa

photo: tine harden

Photographer Tine Harden


73 First oil crisis.


70 UN adopts the

Uganda gains
from Britain.

67 Secession of

Kenya gains
from Britain.


Nigeria's southern
province Biafra.
Civil war until
1970, and the first
major famine to
receive television

Northern Rhodesia
gains independence
from Britain and
changes its name
to Zambia.

target that wealthy

countries should
donate at least 0.7%
of GNI to development

Crude oil prices


East Pakistan
under the name
after disintegration from West

Rhodesia gains
legal independence
from Britain
and becomes

75 First UN World

Conference on Women,
held in Mexico.


87 The UN Brundtland Commission 90-91 Racial segregation

Mozambique gains
independence from
Portugal, and a civil
war results.

84 The HIV virus is

first detected.
An HIV epidemic
spreads through

Report Our Common Future

is published. It places environmental issues on the world
agenda and defines the concept
of sustainable development.

89 The fall of the Berlin Wall

marks the end of the Cold

War between the West and
the Soviet Bloc.
UN Convention on Rights
of the Child adopted.

Famine in

04 Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia,

Apartheid is
abolished in South

Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus

and Malta become EU member states.

A tsunami hits southeast Asia, with the loss

of more than 300,000 lives.

92 UN Earth Summit on

sustainable development
is held in Rio de Janeiro,

00 UN adopts the

Development Goals
for human and
social development
a fingerpost for
the direction of

10 Haiti is hit by an earthquake

01 Terror attack on the USA on

September 11. More than 3,000

are killed in the attacks on
the World Trade Center in
New York and the Pentagon in
Washington. A third hijacked
plane crashes in Pennsylvania.
World Trade Organisation
launches the Doha Round.

measuring 7.0 on the Richter

scale. An estimated 220,000
people are killed and more
than 300,000 injured.

11 The Arab Spring, and

the fall of the regimes

in Tunisia, Egypt and

76 WHO declares




DAC countries average aid
Danmarks aid


Average development assistance (% GNI) given by the international




donor community (black figures) and Denmark (red figures), 1962-2012.


grant given to study

development issues.

63 First state development

loan to India.

62 Law passed on cooperation

with developing countries.
National collection for
project fund.

67 Investment Fund for

71 The secretariat for

the fight against apartheid

in South Africa.
Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke
volunteer programme
becomes permanent.


on EC
(today the
EU) leads
to Denmark
becoming a
member in

technical cooperation
with developing
countries becomes



home rule,
with its own

92 Denmark wins the

for Social Development

held in Copenhagen.

European Football

94 Danish peacekeeping
80 Second
78 Denmark

reaches the
goal of giving
0.7% GNI in

76 Social Security

Act passed, giving

Danes the right
to economic


09 15th UN Climate

95 UN World Summit

79 Greenland gains

developing countries,
dubbed the Coffee Fund,
is established.

65 First grant given to support

Source: OECD (DAC)


72 Referendum

64 First research


UN World
on Women,
held in

91 Ministry of Foreign Affairs is split

into a north and south group,
with the latter administrating
development cooperation. The
name Danida is put aside.

forces in Bosnia fight

off an attack by Serbian
forces. It is the largest
Danish military
engagement since
the end of WW2.

93 MIKA frame adopted.

Foreign Ministry's Private
Sector programme (today the
B2B Programme) is adopted.
The Tamil Case leads to the
resignation of the government.

03 The Danish-Arab

Change Conference
held in Copenhagen.

Partnership Programme
is launched by Foreign
Minister Per Stig Mller.

02 Development assistance
is cut by DKK 1.5 billion
(EUR 200 million).

Parliament agrees unanimously

to the participation of Danish
military units in the international
security force in Afghanistan.

08 The Africa Commission,

established by Prime
Minister Anders Fogh
Rasmussen, holds its
first meeting.

07 The Danish Broadcasting

Corporation and collection

organisations launch Denmark's
annual national collection day.

05-06 Muhammad Cartoons

crisis culminates.

photo: biafra-child: corbis/polfoto, wtc: scanpix, coffee pot: torben stroyer/polfoto, girl: jrgen schytte

The World

p. 10/


p. 11/

Danish red cattle

are good value
Denmark teaches the developing
countries what works

Make a personal effort. Volunteer. A Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke poster from the 1960s.

There was an air of optimism in the

1960s. The austerity of the post-war
years had ended, economies were
booming, and in Asia and Africa dozens
a new nations were becoming independent after the colonial era. They
needed help to get started, and then
growth would come. So thought the UN
and Denmark wanted to take part.
So in 1962, official Danish development assistance was created. We could
afford to help others, and so why not do
it by showing them what worked well
for us? The first decade of development
assistance thus saw a procession of
demonstration projects of the Danish
model. Young Danish volunteers set
out for the developing countries, and
young people from the developing
countries came to Denmark to take cooperative association courses and dairy
courses. All designed to show them the
Danish way.

Danish development assistance surged,

and in 1969 Denmark for the first time
provided proportionately more in assistance than the world's rich countries
and has done ever since.

I don't think we need feel any

shame that aid can have a
promoting effect on Danish
exports. It is provided without
political intentions but
naturally with the purpose
of stabilising peace between
nations, races and regions.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jens Otto Krag, 1962

p. 12/

p. 13/

A wanted child

Danidas birth
is televised

photo: erik petersen/polfoto

Denmark's development assistance has always been

a national cause involving everyone right from the day
it was launched on radio and television

Development assistance and elephants share common characteristics. Both are large and can be
rather difficult to keep under control. Danish Prime Minister Viggo Kampmann visits India in 1962.

In Denmark, Saturday evening is a time

for togetherness. A time to relax and enjoy the company of friends and family.
This is just how it was on Saturday
10 March 1962 the day when Danish
development assistance was born. It
was broadcast on the radio and on television, which was in its golden age.
On this particular evening, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation transmitted directly from Tivoli's Concert Hall,
where a gala show officially opened a
public money-raising event to kick-start
Denmark's development assistance
programme. The Danish population
sat glued to their radios and TVs.
King Frederik IX spoke from
Amalienborg Castle, followed by the
Under-Secretary-General of the United
Nations, Ralph J. Bunche, and Prime
Minister Viggo Kampmann. Entertainment was provided by the top Danish
and international stars of the time. And
it was all hosted by the popular Sejr
Volmer-Srensen, who also received
donations from the public.
During the evening, DKK 50,000 was
raised at the televised event, while DKK
300,000 was donated by phone. Several
radio and TV shows were subsequently
broadcast, while towns across the
country competed to raise the most
money in the most sensational way.
The extensive radio and TV coverage
gave Denmark's money-raising efforts a
flying start.

Multiple initiatives
But there were also critical voices, who
described the entertainment in the
service of a good cause as populist
nonsense. Meanwhile, an extensive
information campaign was under way.
It was placed in the hands of aid
organisation Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke,
which at the time had more experience
working with developing countries
than the state. Leaflets, posters and
teaching resources were printed. A cinema trailer was produced and a special
stamp was issued (see photo), along
with many other initiatives.
Everyone took part: schools, unions,
companies, industry organisations and
churches. Dansk Tipstjeneste, the company running football pools, arranged
an extra football pool day, a special
lotto game was launched, and Klasselotteriet, a Danish lottery, made a special
developing-countries draw. Across the
whole country, local collection committees were established. The total money
raised was DKK 12.3 million more
than DKK 130 million in present day
terms. In April, the money was handed
to the Danish state, which had already
promised to double the amount. The
economic foundation for Danish development assistance was thus created.

Everyone involved
On 19 March 1962, the Danish Parliament passed the Act on technical coop-

A quater of the purchase price of this special

stamp from 1962 was donated to the national
collection for developing countries.

eration with the developing countries.

Having broad support was important,
with all sections of Danish society
As an autonomous part of the new
structure, a board and a council were
created and the various stakeholders in
Danish development assistance were
given seats at the table: popular organisations, the agricultural industry, the
co-operative movement, industry, trade
unions and universities.
The aim was clear: As many as possible should be involved in and have
co-responsibility for Danish development assistance.
And that is still how it is today.

p. 14/

p. 15/

Country selection


Danish development assistance did not

have many years under its belt before
Tanzania emerged at the top of the list
of recipient countries, a position which
the East African country has more or
less maintained ever since. But why
Tanzania, which in just a few years
overtook larger and more significant
countries like India?
And why Tanzania, when other African countries have stronger historical
ties with Denmark? Such as Ghana with
its past as a Danish colony, and from
the 1950s the home of a high school
project administered by Danish aid
organisation Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke (MS). Or Kenya, of Karen Blixen
fame. Or Nigeria, which was the base
for several Danish missionaries? The
answer is probably that it was actually
Tanzania which chose Denmark.

Warm relationship
In the early 1960s Denmark put out
feelers to several African countries, but
it was Tanzania, headed by the country's young president Julius Nyerere,
which responded most enthusiastically.

He was inspired by the Nordic model,

and in 1962 the first shared Nordic
project was introduced in the country:
an educational centre on the outskirts
of the capital Dar es Salaam.
Denmark also turned out to be
enthusiastic about Tanzania. When
MS started its voluntary programme
in 1963, Tanzania was from the start
the main recipient of the many Danish
volunteers. Danish experts also flocked
to Tanzania in large numbers. In 1967,
the country had 31 resident Danish
experts more than any other country
that received Danish development

Tanzania's President Julius Nyerere is received

at Copenhagen Airport by King Frederik IX.

Bilateral bickering
It was agreed at an early stage that the
bilateral part of Denmark's development assistance i.e. the assistance
provided directly from country to
country should concentrate on a
limited number of countries in order to
be effective. But almost every time the
countries were to be named, disagreements arose.
Danish industry and the Danish
agricultural sector typically suggested
better-off developing countries such as

Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, while the popular organisations

preferred to concentrate on the poorest
countries such as Malawi and Ethiopia.
Tanzania continued to be a Danish
priority however. In the period from
1962 to 1975, the country received
a third of Denmark's total bilateral
development assistance, and it was
undisputedly the largest recipient of
Danish development assistance in 2010
with DKK 727 million.




Denmark selects eight priority countries:

India, Pakistan, Thailand, Uganda, Kenya,
Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi.

Concentration of development assistance.

66 countries received Danish development
assistance in 1984-1986. This figure was
reduced to 24 programme cooperation

Programme cooperation countries are

replaced by cooperation countries, which
also includes Afghanistan.

The eight becomes four main recipient
countries: India, Bangladesh, Kenya and

The Danish Parliament agreed seven criteria
for country selection. This started a 15 year
process, which ended with the choice of the
last country, Mali.

Danida now refers to partnership countries
26 in all.

photo: aage srensen/polfoto

Many have had opinions about which

countries should receive Danish development
assistance but one developing country in
particular has always been a favourite

p. 16/

p. 17/

The Milky Way to India

Learning from
the Danes

Herds of red Danish dairy cattle, along with all the necessary
equipment and expertise, head off to the developing countries as
agriculture ploughs the way ahead for a while

This was Danish agriculture in its

earliest manifestation as development
assistance. In the 1960s, Denmark's
development assistance first needed to
invent itself, and it was natural to reach
for something that Denmark was good
at. Agriculture was the obvious choice.

Do as we do
It started with Thaigrden, which in
1962 was inaugurated by the Danish
king, Frederik IX, in the presence of the
King of Thailand. The farm project was
quickly followed by similar demonstration farms in India, Iran and Zambia.
The farm projects were established
in narrow collaboration with Danish
agricultural organisations. Here was an
opportunity to export Danish knowhow in cattle farming and to demonstrate modern agricultural methods,
for example cross-breeding of cattle,
intensive cultivation of food crops and
exports of modern dairy and abattoir
The core of the farm projects was the
demonstration effect: if we show how
we do it ourselves, local farmers will
copy it. And if developing countries
cultivate their heathland, establish
cooperative movements and replicate
other Danish agricultural specialities,
they will automatically evolve in the
same way as Denmark, and the technologies will ripple out in the countries
concerned in ever-widening circles.
That was the idea.

photo: file photo, the royal library

Squires and milking machines

Thaigrden (The Thai Farm) in Muak Lek north

of Bangkok was the first Danish model farm.

The Indian Ocean, October 1966. A

ship with 40 Danish heifers in calf and
six young bulls is on its way across the
open sea. The destination for the cattle
is Indiensgrden in Hessaraghatta in
southern India, the first major Danish state development project in the

During the journey, a severe storm

blew up. The animals huddled together
on the deck of the ship beneath a
canopy which was ripped away by the
winds as the ship sought emergency
port in Goa.
From here the journey continued in
a fitful fashion. First, the cattle were

stabled on the quayside. Then they

were sent on a week-long train journey.
40 heifers had to share four railway
carriages with two Danish vets, while
the six bulls jostled for space in another
carriage. A third Dane had to drive
from station to station giving drinking
water to the cattle.

But it was not how things turned out.

Although the farms in many cases had
a high yield, results in terms of the "ripple effect" were poor. Primarily because
the projects were extremely equipment
intensive from imported milking
machines to advanced equipment for
the artificial insemination of heifers.
The modus operandi was impossible
to transfer to the broad majority of
farmers in the recipient countries. And
certainly not to the poorest of them.
The projects were given nicknames
such as squire projects because they
were managed top-down with little involvement of the locals. Among the first
and biggest of the projects was the dem-

onstration cattle farm Indiensgrden,

where the aim was to increase the
milk output of Indian cattle by crossbreeding with European breeds with a
high output. The early years saw good
results and many happy recipients. The
first cross-bred cow that arrived with
an Indian family was typically accorded
special status. It was well looked after,
washed every day, and had its horns
painted in bright colours.
But it gradually became clear that
red Danish cattle were not suited to the
Indian climate.

The lacklustre results led to Denmark

changing its approach. Just like other
donor countries, it moved activities
away from the poorest in the rural
areas to creating economic growth as
the path to development.

Optimism and criticism

In Denmark, however, there was
enthusiasm. In 1974, one year before
the project was handed over to India,
an article in Udvikling sported the
headline India's white revolution. It
described Danida's efforts with demonstration farms as a very efficient threestage rocket. Calculations were laid
forth which showed that one breeding
bull for new dairy cattle could create
additional production of 64,000 tonnes
of milk over a period of eight years, in
addition to breeding more bulls.
Doubt is often expressed concerning
whether development aid is at all worth
it. There is probably no reason for
doubt in this case. Danish efforts in the
cross-breeding programme in India will
help to significantly improve people's
nutrition in relatively few years, it said
However, there were also voices of
criticism. Hanne Reintoft (Denmark's
Communist Party) questioned certain
aspects of Danish development assistance during a debate in the Danish
Parliament in 1971. She noted that the
many agricultural scholars coming to
Denmark were being trained in Danish
agricultural practices rather than in
analyses and technologies that were relevant to the developing countries.
During the 1970s, the farms were
transferred to the recipient countries,
but no similar projects were initiated.
In 1994, a highly critical evaluation of
agricultural assistance was published:
only half of the projects could be considered acceptable, and there was no
single success story.


A grand portrait of N.F.S Grundtvig, the
ideological father of the folk high school in
Denmark, adorns the assembly hall of Mellemfolkelig Samvirke's combined folk high school
and agricultural school in southern India.
In 1962, Danish Prime Minister Viggo
Kampmann laid the foundation stone for
the Danish-designed main building, called
Grundtvig Hall. The Danida-supported project, located not far from Indiensgrden, is
the oldest Danish project in India.
Danish agricultural exports in the 1960s
consisted not only of agricultural technology
but also of the whole folk high school and
cooperative movement idea.
But it was not easy to recreate the Danish
cooperative movement under tropical skies.
The folksy foundation was lacking and political support was often completely absent. The
cooperative movement instead ended up as
state enterprises.
In Pakistan, a costly consultancy project
was discontinued as it became clear that
the authorities had no interest in promoting
the cooperative concept. And support for a
Nordic cooperative project in Tanzania was
terminated in 1989, after 25 years with the
country's only permitted party controlling the
entire cooperative sector. Danish support of
cooperative movements stopped completely
a short time afterwards.
photo: lnborg/scanpix

p. 18/

p. 19/
white coats


The coffee

The hospital
that died
The Congo Hospital. What was once
Denmark's largest project in a developing country started with money from
national collection day in 1962. For
almost 20 years, the hospital received
Danish development assistance corresponding to a present day value of
more than DKK 500 million (EUR 67.3
million). In addition, the hospital employed 50 Danish doctors, nurses and
other staff, all at the same time.
The back story was a serious one:
When Belgium left Congo in 1962,
the new nation had a huge need for
hospitals and healthcare personnel. So
the aim was to make the hospital in the
capital Kinshasa a model that would
demonstrate how to run a hospital, and
it would also train doctors and nurses.
The idea came from chief physician
Jacob Raft, who headed the hospital
until his death in 1971.
There was scepticism right from the
start. The plans were too ambitious, critics said. And they were right. The Congo
Hospital never became a Congolese
model. It was too Danish. The Danish
staff did not share their leadership and
responsibility sufficiently with the Congolese, who for their part could not live
up to the high Danish wage subsidies
paid to local employees when the Danish subsidies ceased in 1981. When the
last Danish employees went home, the
decay really took hold.

1967 saw the establishment of the

Industrialisation Fund for Developing
Countries (IFU), which was initially
financed from customs duty on coffee
and hence was known as the Coffee
The fund, whose aim was to invest
in developing countries, was a long
time in getting started, however. By the
end of 1969, IFU had made just one
investment, together with De Forenede
Papirfabrikker, in a factory in Turkey.
But despite the difficult start, the
fund turned out to be a fountain of
vitality. From 1967 to 2010, IFU invested in more than 700 projects in 85
countries. Total investments in these
projects amounted to almost DKK 100
billion, of which 9 billion came from
The investments are estimated to
have directly created around 140,000
jobs. IFU has also proved to be good
business for the Danish state. IFU has
received a total of DKK 1 billion in
state subsidies, but the fund has generated such a large surplus, that a similar
amount has been paid back.
photo: file photo, the royal library

photo: sara skytte/polfoto

Chief physician Jacob Raft speaks at the Congo Hospital opening ceremony.

photo: file photo, the royal library

There was no lack of ambition in Denmark's

efforts to help Congo ensure healthcare
provision but the plan was flawed

A patient is attended to by one of the team of 50

Danish nurses stationed at Congo Hospital.

Today the hospital is an empty shell. It

treated several thousand patients and
trained Congolese healthcare personnel, but it is remembered mostly as a
glaring example of the pitfalls of large
demonstration projects. The experience resulted in a change of approach
to Denmark's healthcare support in
developing countries.

p. 20/

p. 21/

The early years

The Pioneer

photo: file photo, the royal library

Youthful and

An innocent and somewhat naive pioneering spirit characterized

development assistance in the early 1960s. Villagers in Kenya.

The 1960s was the time of pioneering

in Danida, where the newly appointed
assistance consultants could largely
act without the systems and forms
which were introduced at a later stage.
In 1968, Kaj Baag started his Danida
career, which he later described in
Things were a lot simpler back then.
These days you can't even cross the
bridge to Malm without preparing
terms of reference.

I just received some admonitions,

bought my ticket and collected a
bundle of traveller's cheques. Then I
set off, and excepting trips to India, no
one bothered where I went or how long
I was away. After six weeks of travel I
returned and presented new project
ideas. Naturally experts were sent out
to plan large-scale projects in detail,
but the proposals that we called cash
subsidy went directly to the Board.
There was something youthful and
refreshing about the whole enterprise,

and even though I was told shortly after

my appointment that it was a misunderstanding and even dangerous to be
committed, some of us actually were.
Kaj Baag made a significant mark
on Danish development assistance.
When he died in November 1987, he
was serving as the Danish Ambassador
in India.

Ester the

Ester Boserup
Born 1910. Graduated as an economist in
1935. Employed for 11 years in Denmark's
central administration, followed by 10
years in the UN system, after which she
was a freelance researcher for Danish and
international institutions, principally the
UN and World Bank. Died 1999 at her
home in Switzerland.
photo: jan jrgensen /scanpix

I could see with my own eyes how

women throughout Asia were doing
most of the work in the fields and in
Africa I have since seen that it is just
the women who are doing the agricultural work.
Unlike many other women in the
1960s, Ester Boserup was not driven
by feminism when she got the plight of
women onto the developing-countries
agenda. It was her experience from the
third world that brought her backwards into the problems of women in
developing countries as she put it in
an interview with Danish national daily
newspaper Politiken. Three years in
India made a special impression on her.
It was also in Asia that I first discovered what was to be one of the big
themes in my research: the position of
women in the development process.
The Marxism-inspired political
economist and researcher in the field of
developing countries had a long career
behind her. At the age of just 28 she
was head of the Danish National Bank's
currency office. She also became one of

the first female Danish economists to

have an international research career.
From the 1960s onwards, Boserup
published several research works
which reverberated everywhere. Principal among them was Womans Role
in Economic Development, which was
translated into numerous languages
and gave her practically iconic status a
few years later at the first UN conference for women in 1975.
The committed pioneer died in 1999
at her home in Switzerland, aged 89.
She had by then long since put her
mark on the way the world discusses
women and development assistance.

Assistance in itself is wrong It does

not solve the problem of world poverty,
and it disguises the reality, namely the
international economic and trade
system's exploitation of poor countries.
President Julius Nyerere, Tanzania, 1973


p. 23/

Dark days and

white elephants

photo: file photo, the royal library

Developing countries are dissatisfied,

and Denmark changes its approach
Winds of political change were blowing. Denmark joined the European
Community. Mogens Glistrup and his
new Progress Party were voted into
the Danish Parliament. And industry
joined the development assistance
fund battle, which passed one billion
kroner a year.
The 1970s was the decade of large
projects. Some failed and ended up
on the front pages of newspapers as
scandals or white elephants. At the
same time, development assistance was
made more professional and focused
on the countries to which Denmark
provided most: Bangladesh, India,
Tanzania and Kenya.
Winds of change were blowing
elsewhere too. The oil crisis had a
jolting impact. Denmark was hit hard,

A Danish-built high-tech state loan dairy plant in Kenya

and car travel was banned on Sundays.

The poorest developing countries,
which the oil crisis hit the hardest of all,
sharpened their tone, demanding that
the rich countries fulfil their promises
of more development assistance. And
they wanted a new economic world
Gone was the optimism of the 1960s.
The belief that growth in itself could
eradicate poverty, evaporated.
Activities should instead be directed
at hunger and disease, water scarcity
and education. The strategy of
elementary needs gained pace.

p. 24/

p. 25/

The foundation


The scrapheap
in Sudan

A law without the poor

Although poverty is the core of Danish development cooperation,
it has never been mentioned in the law

1970s legislation
In 1971, the law was changed and
became the Act on international
development cooperation. It is still a
slim document, but does however state
an aim in 1:
The aim of Denmark's state assistance to the developing countries is to
support their efforts via a cooperation
with the authorities and governments
of these countries to achieve economic
growth in order to contribute to ensuring their social progress and political
independence in accordance with the

United Nations Treaty, purpose and

leading principles, and also through
cultural cooperation to promote mutual understanding and solidarity.
No mention of poverty or the poor in
this 1971 law either. The belief at the
time, that economic growth leads to
social progress, is clearly reflected.

Including poverty
Although poverty orientation has
frequently been confirmed in a steady
flow of agendas in the Danish Parliament, it has never been directly
included in the law.
But its time could soon come.
Because the bill submitted for consul-

tation in January 2012 is introduced

with the words:
The aim of Denmark's development
cooperation is to combat poverty and
promote human rights, democracy,
sustainable development, peace and
stability in accordance with the UN
Treaty, the Universal Declaration on
Human Rights and UN conventions
on human rights.

80 million kroner in development assistance rusts away.

Danish tabloid newspaper Ekstra
Bladet didn't mince its words when
in 1979 it exposed one of the most
spectacular fiascos in Danish development cooperation history: an abattoir
in Sudan that handsomely rewarded
Danish suppliers, but which turned out
to be completely unusable.
The story from southern Sudan was
ideal shock-horror headline material for the popular press. It became
an object lesson for Denmark in how
wrong things could go when development assistance was provided in the
form of a state loan, i.e. money loaned
to the developing country to stimulate
its economic growth, with the proviso
that the money was used to buy things
made in Denmark.
The story of the Sudanese abattoir
helped Danida to become a lot more
careful when providing development
assistance. Both before the decision of
supporting something, and after.
But first, a couple of colourful details.

Rich hopes poor research

In 1972, peace returned to Sudan after
a civil war. It created an atmosphere of

cautious optimism, and raised hopes

that Sudan could become a breadbasket for the whole region. But it needed
investment. In an abattoir, for example.
The Danish firm Atlas saw opportunities. It had already delivered equipment for abattoirs to several developing
countries that was financed through
Danish state loans. Moreover, the agent
for Atlas at the time was the Danish
Consul General in the country.
Denmark wished to support Sudan,
so in 1974 Danida provided a state loan
of DKK 25 million to be used for a number of projects including an abattoir.
This was followed by an even larger
export credit to Atlas, and the abattoir
equipment was duly dispatched.
But it was never installed. Nor
should anyone have been surprised, a
subsequent investigation revealed.
The abattoir, with sufficient capacity
to slaughter 400 cows per hour, was
to be part of an industrial project in
the town of Mongalla, which lacked
both roads and electricity supplies.
But the local nomads had no tradition
for either selling their cattle or buying
meat and certainly not refrigerated
meat. For the project to work, massive
additional investments were required

photo: istockphoto

A vehicle in the west African state of Liberia displays an appeal to

a higher authority in case earthly legislators fail to remember.

photo: stefan katic

An abattoir with no meat, a murdered man, and a fortune in

wasted development assistance money resulted in Denmark
dropping the once-popular state loan

The whole purpose of Denmark's development assistance over the decades can
be condensed into two words: poverty
orientation. Combating poverty is the
foundation of Danida's programmes,
strategies and plans.
But Denmark's first piece of legislation on development assistance from
1962 a practically-oriented document
covering just three pages has no
preamble. It mostly comprises the new
board and the new council for technical cooperation with the developing
The first line of the Act mentions
that its purpose is to provide assistance to the developing countries, and
then the focus shifts towards the board,
council and administration.
Not a word about poverty or the

The industrial-scale Danish-financed abattoir

in Mongalla, Sudan, had a capacity of 400 cows
per hour! A Sudanese postage stamp shows
some of the cattle that never made it that far

in buildings and infrastructure. This

never happened.

Futile rescue attempt

What remained was an unused pile of
abattoir equipment in which millions
had been invested. So Denmark began
various attempts to rescue the investment.
A further DKK 2 million was given
to build a storage facility, so that the
equipment could at least be stored in >

p. 26/

p. 27/

photo: reuters/mohamed nureldin abdallah


The abattoir project in Sudan overlooked the

fact that nomads neither buy nor sell meat.

> dry conditions, and a local man was

hired to keep an eye on the equipment.
But he was later found murdered. So a
team was sent to investigate whether
the equipment could be used elsewhere. But it was a futile mission.
One can easily see why the Danish
tabloid press leapt on this story.
Right up to 1982, when the project
was finally abandoned, the story regularly surfaced in the newspapers to
the great regret of Danida's chairman
Christian Kelm-Hansen, who acknowledged that the project had been a

fiasco, but lamented the fact that the

media only seemed to interest itself in
Danish development assistance when
something went wrong.

State loans criticised

State loans represented a large proportion of Denmark's development assistance in the first decade. They brought
business to Danish companies, opened
new markets for them, and created new
jobs in Denmark.
At the time, this was common practice among all donors. And state loans

were rather popular in developing

countries, which were hungry for new
But a lot went wrong, especially
because up to 1975 state loans were
given without proper feasibility studies
being carried out. If a recipient country
asked for Denmark to supply something such as an abattoir the loan
was provided.
In 1975 Danida set up a state loan
office and began to undertake feasibility studies which became increasingly thorough and resulted in several

successful Danish state loan projects,

including the financing of several
hundred small water utilities for health
clinics and local areas in West Africa.
They were supplied by the Danish company Scan Water, and were successfully
taken into use.
But the howling criticism of state
loans continued, especially because
they were tied to supplies from Denmark. This led to inflated prices and
technology that did not suit developing
countries, and left them with enormous
problems with spare parts and mainte-

nance, because equipment was sourced

from so many different countries.
The end came in 1988, when state
loans were abolished. Hereafter,
virtually all Danish development assistance became donations. Developing
countries could now buy from whoever
they liked.

I am tired of hearing about cement

factories, said Jrgen K. Hansen of the
Confederation of Danish Industry to
Udvikling in 1993.
Cement factories had indeed become
a major topic in the debate on development assistance. In particular, three
large-scale cement factories in Tanzania gave rise to criticism, because for
long periods they operated far below
capacity. Cement factories from FLSmidth led the way in Danish development assistance throughout the early
years, greatly helped by the tied nature
of Danish state loans. Over the years,
no fewer than 19 different countries
received state loans for purchasing
from FLSmidth.
Principal among them was Tanzania,
which in the period 1968-1985 alone,
received close to DKK 500,000 for a cement factory in Mbeya. Subsequently,
further Danish support was provided
for another two cement factories in the
East African country. And since, like
much of Tanzania's industry, they became dilapidated and ran at low output
for lengthy periods, criticism mounted
and these factories were labelled 'white
elephants' another way of saying
'development assistance fiasco'.
But in more recent times, these
cement factories like many other
things in Tanzania have got their act
together and are considered locally as
successes. Some of the white elephants
have reverted to their natural grey.

I have always spoken for

development assistance.
To me it is a natural extension
of my basic position, which
is based on the concept that
in simplified terms can be
called solidarity.

photo: jrgen schytte/danida

Prime Minister Anker Jrgensen

Interviewed in Udvikling [Development] magazine,
issue 1, 1976, by editor Kika Mlgaard

p. 30/

p. 31/
The Volunteer

the message

The social worker

turned ambassador

When the first issue of Udvikling

[Development] came out in 1974, Portugal still had large colonies in Africa,
apartheid was still being practised in
South Africa, and the United States had
not yet left Vietnam.
The great struggles were taking
place in the southern hemisphere, and
solidarity with the third world took up a
fair amount of the agenda in Denmark.
Danish organisations involved in
assisting developing countries were
providing information in order to focus
attention on poverty in these lands, and
to drum up support for more Danish
development assistance.
Danida was also seeking to reach a
wider audience. For while Denmark's
development assistance was growing in
the 1970s, so was the need to communicate what Danida was doing.
So in 1974, Udvikling was founded
with Kika Mlgaard as editor. An annual subscription comprising six issues
of the non-colour magazine cost 50

cover illustration: steen malberg.

As Denmark's
assistance grew in
the 1970, so did the
need to tell people
about it





Orla Bakdal
Born 1949. Graduated as a social worker
in 1974 and went to Botswana the same
year for the Danish aid organisation
Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke (MS). Employed
for 11 years in MS, before joining Danida
in 1985. In 1996 appointed ambassador
to Nicaragua. Since 2009, Alternate
Executive Director at the Inter-American
Development Bank.
photo: mikkel noel lanzky

Five decades of Danida's magazine Udvikling.

It was 1974. Orla Bakdal had just completed his training as a social worker.
Through his job as a student worker
in the Danish Refugee Council he had
acquired a taste for development work.
So instead of doing military service, he
went to Botswana as a volunteer for the
Danish aid organisation Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke (MS).
I had become interested in foreign
cultures through my work in the
Danish Refugee Council. We met a lot
of people there who had come to Denmark, and it was rewarding and instructive to be with people from other places
and cultures, he says.
Orla Bakdal stayed in Botswana for
27 months before hitching his way
home from the south of Africa a journey that took six months.
The trip to Africa became the start of
four decades of development work. He
worked 11 years at MS before joining
Danida, where he rose quickly through
the ranks with ambassadorial positions
in Nicaragua, Malawi and Zambia.

He sees his many years of practical development work and slightly

offbeat educational background as an
advantage, but admits that not many
social workers have ended up as ambassadors.
Development assistance has had
50 wonderful years, but we have to
realise that it is changing in character.
Whereas previously it was a form of
assistance that required manual work
and practical knowledge, today it is
moving towards a more theoretical
approach, says Orla Bakdal, who at 62
is now Alternate Executive Director at
the Inter-American Development Bank
in Washington.


p. 33/

photo: keystone/gettyimages . etiopien, 80s

Frustration in
the austere 80s
Denmark keeps the flag flying despite
the economic crisis

There is a broad popular

understanding that Denmark
should help resolve the pressing
global development problems.
Not only as an expression of
humanitarian awareness and
social responsibility, but also
from an increasing recognition of
a real global destiny community.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, 1988

Fiscal intervention, youth unemployment and empty purses. Denmark was

in crisis and internationally there
were problems too. There was a Cold
War between the Eastern and Western
world and poverty, hunger and a
surge in the population in Africa.
Global development assistance
stagnated, and debt spiralled in the
developing countries. In 1984, terrible
TV images from the famine in Ethiopia
confirmed the misery. Spectacular campaigns such as Band Aid and Africa
starves raised sympathy and money.

Despite the crisis, Denmark continued

to increase its development assistance.
It also became more focused and professional, and began supporting certain
selected countries and evaluating the
efforts. And attention was turned to
new areas such as the environment,
women and human rights, which were
incorporated into all of Denmark's
development assistance work.

p. 34/

p. 35/
Regional development

Broken dreams
in Bangladesh
The Noakhali project set sail as the flagship of Denmark's
development cooperation, but was not seaworthy and ran aground

Take note of the name Noakhali. It

will emerge many times over the coming years in the domestic debate on
development assistance.
This was one of the first references
to the enormous Noakhali project in
Bangladesh. It appeared in Udvikling
[Development] in 1977, and the writer's
prediction was correct.
At the time, it was the most ambitious Danish development project, with
costs totalling DKK 389 million in the
period until its closure 14 years later.
During those years, legions of journalists, development cooperation experts
and politicians visited Noakhali, a
district in south east Bangladesh. Never
before had there been such attention
on a Danish development assistance

photo: file photo, the royal library

A problematic province
Noakhali province is an agricultural
area largely without industry, and
marked by deep and widespread
poverty. The River Ganges periodically bursts its banks here, bringing
death and destruction to the low-lying
The Noakhali project was one of the most personnel-intensive Danish
development initiatives, concurrently employing over 60 Danish consultants.

The aim of the development project

was to help the whole region by creating integrated economic growth and
social development, with a large number of activities launched simultaneously. Economic growth was nurtured
through building infrastructure, creating jobs and increasing food production. Social development was promoted
through furthering the provision of
healthcare and education.
The Noakhali project, targeted
mainly at the poorest and most vulnerable groups, was launched in 1978
three years after Bangladesh became
one of Denmark's four main recipient

Fertilising Danish exports

But there were problems. Right from
the start, the project was beset by
delays, which with the passing years
caused the flagship project to be regarded in domestic debate as more of a
misadventure, with little to show in the
way of results.
Another challenge for the povertyoriented project was that Bangladesh
was not as interested in sociallyoriented assistance as in assistance in
the form of goods, which could save

the hard-pressed state the expense of

currency-requiring imports. This was
the approach that the Danish business sector adopted. Fertilisers from
Superfos at a total cost of DKK 450
million were supplied to Bangladesh
until 1986.
In 1985, a Canadian report began a
more fundamental discussion of the
underlying causes of development
assistance difficulties in Bangladesh.
It concluded that the rural population,
despite the growth in assistance, was in
a worse condition as a whole than when
the country gained its independence
in 1971. And that the biggest barrier to
development for the poorest was the
country's political and social power
The report provided ammunition
for the critics of two core principles in
Danish development assistance at the
time: that the assistance should not be
such as to cause political interference
in the recipient country, and that it had
mainly to be channelled through existing public power structures, whereby >

photo: jrgen schytte/danida

p. 36/

p. 37/

Equality Denmark puts its mark on Noakhali

> as in the military dictatorship of

Bangladesh it contributed to consolidating the power of the governing elite.
In 1988, Danida launched an action
plan which marked a shift away from
flagship projects like Noakhali to
smaller, more low-tech projects in for
example agriculture.
Press coverage became increasingly critical. The only thing that will
remain when we leave is probably the
Danida Guesthouse. It is still the best
house in town, a former employee on
the project said to Danish newspaper
Information in 1990.

Marginal effect
Denmark's enthusiasm gradually
waned and in 1991 after 14 years of
substantial costs and mixed results
the project was closed. A planned
phase leading up to 2000 was cancelled.
At that time, major regional projects
such as Noakhali had long since gone
out of fashion and been replaced by
sector programmes focused on one sector at a time.

The ambitious project was closed without any evaluation being carried out,
leaving unanswered the question of
whether the many millions provided in
assistance had been useful. It was not
until nine years after the closure that
Danida undertook a comprehensive
evaluation of the project, which kept
eight researchers occupied for a whole
year. They concluded that the project
had achieved a positive impact for
many poor, but the significance in most
cases was marginal.
It is not a success story. It is a mixed
story. Many things have lasted and
some things were forgotten long ago,
while other things never materialised
or were utter failures, said Steen Folke,
senior researcher at the Centre for
Development Research, which headed
the evaluation.
The evaluation criticised the extensive use of consultants. More than 60
primarily Danish long-term consultants were employed. This was problematic because activities came to a stop
when the Danish consultants left and
took their knowledge home with them.
And these consultants were expensive.
In 1992, a Danish company consultant

cost DKK 1.45 million, while a local

consultant cost DKK 300,000.

Money misspent?
Development assistance can be difficult to assess. Living conditions for
hundreds of thousands of people were
improved because of the ambitious
development assistance project, and
the educational programme was a
lasting success. Was it worth the money
that 135,000 children learned to read?
And that 125,000 men and women were
no longer illiterate? But the educational
area was also criticised because of lack
of collaboration with the Ministry of
Education in Bangladesh, so the educational programme ceased when Danida
As Danida wrote in the evaluation
summary: The Noakhali project did
not achieve everything that was hoped
for and expected. Countless complications and difficulties appeared during
the project. It set out as the flagship at
the head of the fleet, but ended up being overtaken by newer vessels. And yet
there are still traces to be seen in the
wake of the flagship.
Job distribution between rich and poor, depicted here by Danish cartoonist Claus Deleurans (1946-1996). The poster was produced in 1978 by Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke,
which for decades led the way in providing information about the plight of the developing countries work which was largely financed by Danida.

p. 38/

p. 39/

If you want to create development in the world's poorest countries,
women must be included every step of the way

The decade started with a bang. In

July 1980, Denmark hosted the UN
Conference on Women, which marked
the midway point of the UN Decade
for Women. It was a mega-event with
10,000 attendees and heavy publicity.
But it was light on results. The Cold
War and world politics affected the conference: the West wanted to talk about
equality and the East about peace and
disarmament, while developing countries wanted to talk about independence and economic development. And
the Israel-Palestine question received
special attention.
There were plenty of other things on
the agenda too. Women in the developing countries had poor access to healthcare, education and work. Thousands
died in childbirth and few girls went
to school. Violence against women was
also a major problem.

photo: nana reimers/danida

Women are the key

Not long had passed since development
policy like most aspects of public
life was totally dominated by men.
But as women during the 1970s won
influence and attention, a special angle
on women started to establish itself in

Men and women have different roles and duties in life and childbed
can be a life-threatening place for women in developing countries.

development work: to get development

assistance to work, women must be
The big focus on two key development policy issues helped women to
move higher up the agenda: population
growth and family planning.
During the 1980s, women and equality continued to be a separate action
area. Women were "campaign material"
with separate conferences. And in 1987,
Denmark was one of the first countries to formulate an action plan that
focused on biased gender distribution
both among those who benefited from
development assistance and those who
planned it.

Difficult in practice
At the time, only 10 percent of Danida's
stationed bilateral advisors were women. And only one woman shared the
same senior executive level as 25 men
in Denmark's development assistance
But equality now had to be incorporated in every development assistance
project all the way from planning to
Even so, an evaluation conducted
seven years later concluded that although good results had been achieved

in projects targeted at women, there

was a lack of integration in other projects: Women were still considered a
group that could benefit from a project
rather than take part in the planning
and implementation of it.

New focus
Women and equality became a recurring theme for Danish development
assistance henceforth. Denmark also
promised this to other countries in
1995, when the UN held a conference
on women in China and adopted "the
constitution for women" the Beijing
Declaration which put special focus
on women and poverty.
When the Liberal-Conservative government came to power in 2001, there
was further focus on the theme in Danish development assistance. Denmark
established a special pool for equality
and combating poverty, as well as a new
gender strategy, while the embassies
were to work on integrating the equality aspect throughout development
assistance activities.

p. 40/

p. 41/

THE expert

You smile and

become cheerful
Bo Bojesen, for decades a regular
cartoonist at Danish daily newspaper
Politiken, frequently focused his characteristic comment on the relationship
between Denmark and the developing
This cartoon is from 1983, but the
topic is as relevant today as it was then.
The caption to the cartoon reads:

Products that are banned in Western

countries are freely and carelessly sold
to the developing countries, which cannot assess their danger.
The label means that the product
strengthens your bones, so you smile
and become cheerful.

Practical hands and

a resourceful mind

Erik Nissen-Petersen
Born 1934. Military service as a
carpenter at a Danish Naval Station.
Moved to Kenya in 1973 and two years
later married his Kenyan housekeeper,
with whom he still lives. Continues to
work with water utilisation throughout
most of Africa.

drawing: bo bojesen

photo: mia collis

In those days we were practical people,

almost all of us. We built things
schools, dairies, and so forth, says Erik
Nissen-Petersen about the previous
generations of development assistance
experts stationed abroad.
This was before highly-educated
academics made their entrance into
development assistance work. In Erik's
day, advisors went out with bricklayers' trowels and blackboard chalks
instead of laptops and briefcases. Being
stationed abroad was in many ways
easier back then, he thinks. Today, the
experts have moved into offices and are
managing large programmes.
They often seem frustrated, because
in contrast to us practitioners, they
work in cities where they frequently
encounter fraud and corruption. They
are only there for two or three years,
then they travel on.
For 14 years Erik Nissen-Petersen
had been a builder in the Danish town
of Kge, when in 1973 inspired by
a holiday trip to drought-stricken
Gambia the year before he applied
for a job with Danida as a bricklayer to

build cattle dips in Kenya. Having got

the job, he quickly discovered that the
Kenyan farmers had a greater need for
utilising the sparse water resources for
their cattle and their crops, than for
dealing with parasites in cattle dips. So
he started developing techniques for
collecting and utilising rainwater and
river water, and achieved fame in the
development assistance world by creating the green valley in a parched area
of eastern Kenya.
In the early 1980s Danish television
(DR) broadcast a series called The Developers, which took place in Africa.
The idealistic main character, played
by actor Ole Ernst, was modelled on
Erik Nissen-Petersen.
Today Erik Nissen-Petersen is one
of Africa's leading experts in water
exploitation. He is 78 years old and is
still working flat out with projects in
15 different African countries.

p. 42/
Development assistance for health

Drugs drama with

a Danish touch
photo: mikkel stergaard/danida

Essential and inexpensive drugs that can

help vast numbers of sick people in developing
countries makes for a heart-warming story
and a strongly controversial one
The pharmaceutical industry versus
a couple of Danish doctors. The battle
lines were sharply drawn when Danida
granted DKK 5 million to the World
Health Organisation (WHO) in 1982
to kick-start its controversial Essential
Drugs programme, which Danish
doctor Ernst Lauridsen had been appointed to head.
With another Danish doctor, Halfdan
Mahler, as the Director-General of WHO
since 1973, the organisation had completely changed its focus.
In 1978, WHO published a list of
208 essential drugs for treating the
vast majority of diseases that flourish
in developing countries. The idea was
simple: public sector health authorities
were required to purchase the most
essential and non-patented but approved drugs in such large quantities
that discounts could be obtained. But
the pharmaceutical industry saw it as a
declaration of war, and the idea didn't
really catch on.

Medicine for the masses

But in 1981 Kenya implemented, with
support from Danida, a successful pilot
programme with collective purchasing

of just 40 drugs for selected remote

areas. The result was the desired one:
inexpensive drugs for more people.
The following year, Danida supported a similar but larger programme
in Tanzania. 120 firms submitted a bid,
resulting in the lowest prices ever.
Even so, the roll-out of the concept
was sluggish until Ernst Lauridsen,
who for some years had worked with essential drugs in a number of developing
countries, was employed in 1982. Lauridsen's department was placed directly
under Halfdan Mahler's office and had
its budget increased many times over.
Other countries gave their support,
pressure from popular organisations
mounted, and then something happened: in the course of a few years,
around 100 developing countries
shifted over to acquiring drugs according to the WHO list of essential drugs.

Drama at WHO
Not everyone was happy however,
and the clash with the pharmaceutical
industry was one of the reasons why,
by 1988, Halfdan Mahler no longer
had the backing of the US and Japan,
among others, to continue as the
Director-General of WHO.
He was succeeded by Hiroshi Nakajima of Japan, who came directly from

one of the world's biggest pharmaceutical firms and immediately set about
reorganising the department of essential drugs. Ernst Lauridsen resigned
in protest and the programme was
weakened for a number of years.
But fortunately the World Bank and
the United Nations Children's Fund
(UNICEF) took up the idea, so the
concept of essential drugs spread. It
is still used in child health programmes
and to combat HIV, malaria and tuberculosis, says Lauridsen today.
And Ib Bygbjerg, professor of
international health at Copenhagen
University Hospital thinks that the
idea has had a lasting effect and is one
of the heart-warming stories of development assistance.
The programmes have helped to get
cheap drugs of good quality out to the
many remote health clinics, and have
saved the lives of millions of people,
he says.

p. 46/

Ministers for
development cooperation
For many years, Denmark provided development assistance
without having a specific minister for it; the work was mainly
handled by the minister for foreign affairs


Jens Otto Krag

Prime Minister, supervises the
implementation of the Act on
technical cooperation with
the developing countries

K.B. Andersen
Minister for Foreign Affairs

Per Hkkerup
Minister for Foreign Affairs,
from 3 September

Hans Slvhj
Minister without portfolio
concerning foreign policy

Hans Tabor
Minister for Foreign Affairs







Lise stergaard
Minister without portfolio concerning foreign policy issues

Jan Trjborg
Minister for Development

Ulla Trns
Minister for Development



Poul Nyboe Andersen
Professor, Doctor of Economics
and chairman of FDB (COOP)

Kjeld Philip
Former minister; reappointed
for 1969-1971

Kjeld Olesen
Minister for Foreign Affairs

Uffe Ellemann-Jensen
Minister for Foreign Affairs

The aim of the Danida Board

(the Board for International
Development Cooperation)
is to advise the minister for
development cooperation and
discuss new programmes,
recommend grants etc.




Chairmen of the
Danida Board

Anita Bay Bundegaard

Minister for Development



Sren Pind
Minister for Development
Cooperation, and from 2011
also Minister for Refugee,
Immigration and Integration


Kai Petersen
Deputy chairman of LO, the
Danish Confederation of
Trade Unions

Christian Kelm-Hansen
Principal of Esbjerg Folk High
School and later MP

Helle Degn
The first actual Minister for
Development Cooperation



Per Stig Mller

Minister for Foreign


Christian Friis Bach
Minister for Development

Peder Elkjr
Bank director


K.B. Andersen
Minister for Foreign Affairs

Holger Bernt Hansen

Professor, Center for Africa
Studies, Doctor of Theology

Ove Guldberg
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Poul Nielson
Minister for Development


Bertel Haarder
Minister for Development
Cooperation and for Refugee,
Immigration and Integration

Klaus Bustrup
Former director of the
Danish Agricultural Council,
reappointed to 2013

photos: scanpix, polfoto and folketinget

Kresten Helveg Petersen

Minister for cultural affairs
and for technical cooperation
with the developing countries
and for disarmament issues

Denmark and the poor countries
in charts and figures


FOLD out

Danida's footprint 1962-2012

These are the 46 countries to which Danida has provided most development assistance since 1966.
Today Danida's bilateral assistance is concentrated on 26 partner countries.

46 countries

Assistance periods

Level of activity/decade


1965 -


1965 -


1965 -


1965 -


1965 -


1966 -

Partnership countries


1966 -


1966 -


1966 -


1966 -


1966 -

A yellow dot signifies a partnership country.

These are countries on which Denmark
focuses particularly in its assistance and
cooperation work.


1967 -


1967 -

DR Congo

1968 - 1983 and 2005 -


1968 -


1968 -


1969 -

The Philippines

1969 -

Sri Lanka

1969 -


1970 -


1970 -


1970 -


1971 -


1972 -


1972 -


1972 -


1972 -



1972 -



1973 -



1973 -



1974 -



1975 -

Burkina Faso

1975 -


1975 - 1980 and 2003 -


1975 -


1976 -


1978 -


1978 - 1981 and 1985 -


1980 -


1980 -


1981 -


1983 -


1990 -


1993 -

South Africa

1993 -

Palestinian Authority

1994 -

60 70 80 90 00

Cover portraits: Young girl from Bhutan and a Touareg man from Mali. photos: jrgen schytte/danida

Assistance periods
Includes decades where assistance
was provided for at least five years.
Minor breaks in assistance are not shown,
nor is assistance provided in single years.
This is especially relevant to the early
assistance era, e.g. assistance to Egypt
1965-1967 is not shown.
Source: Denmark's reporting to

Activity level per decade

The same colour tone does not indicate

that the same amount of money was
provided, but shows the relative level
of activity.
Where transfers were made for a
period of five years or more within a
decade, the whole decade is registered
as the period in which assistance was

Around the World:

Where Denmark has provided
most assistance
The map shows the 46 poor countries to which Denmark has provided
most development assistance since the country's state development
assistance was established 50 years ago
Many developing countries were very poor in 1962,
but today they are on course towards fending for
The map shows Danidas activities in the 46 countries to which the majority of Danish development
assistance has been given over the past 50 years.
The countries are divided into four categories as
shown below. Countries marked in yellow are
Denmark's partner countries, i.e. selected countries
that Denmark cooperates with and supports to a
high degree.

Partnership countries which are still very poor

Countries on which Denmark especially focuses support.
These countries are still among the world's poorest. Among them
are Nepal, Mali and Tanzania.


Partnership countries on their way

Countries on which Denmark especially focuses support.
These countries generate enough earnings to be classified as
middle-income countries, but still have significant levels of poverty.
Among them are Vietnam, Bolivia and Pakistan.


Countries denmark once supported heavily still poor

Countries to which Denmark previously gave substantial support,
but now gives modest support. Among them are Senegal, Angola
and Yemen.

Countries denmark once supported heavily on their way

Countries to which Denmark previously gave substantial support.
In some of them, Denmark's assistance has now ceased. In others,
Denmark still provides support in certain areas, such as the
environment or the development of a well-functioning state.
These countries generate enough earnings to be classified as
middle-income countries. They still have significant levels of poverty,
but many of them are now making rapid progress and can manage
their own affairs. Among them are Nigeria, South Africa and India.

With support from

Danida, large land
areas have been given
back to Bolivia's
indigenous people. Five
million of these people
have obtained deeds
to their own land.

Benin: 800,000 people

have gained access to
clean drinking water.
3,350 water pumps and
wells have been established since 2000 with
support from Danida.


Cookers, solar panels

and mini hydropower
plants have given five
million Nepalese access to
clean and cheap energy,
with Denmark's support.



Palestinian Authority
















Sri Lanka







The Philippines







DR Congo








Burkina Faso





South Africa

Almost a million
Tanzanians now have
their own bank account,
with Denmark's
support. This gives
them an opportunity
to take out loans and
deposit savings.

In just 20 years, life

expectancy in the small
kingdom of Bhutan has
increased by 19 years,
thanks to the substantial
support Denmark has
given to the healthcare

A world of difference
If you think the world is falling apart, take heart and
take a look at these figures which show the development
of ten poor countries across four selected parameters.
Danida has worked or is still working in all ten of these
countries, although no claim is made of any direct con-

nection between Danida's presence and the progress

achieved. The four indicators have been chosen because
they are considered solid markers of development,
and can also be documented with data going back as
far as 1960.

Income development over 50 years*

Mortality in children under 5 years (%)


























GNP per capital in USD

Births per woman





























Life expectancy (years)






Source: Gapminder
Gapminder is a Swedish non-profit enterprise, which produces computer-animated displays of global development, based on UNDP's
Human Development Index, data from the World Bank, and others.
*The statement describes GDP per capita adjusted for local purchasing power, i.e. GDP PPP (Purchasing Power Parity). The high index
weighting of real purchasing power means that, for example, Bangladesh is relatively highly rated in the index.


p. 47/

The fall of the Wall

a new era?
Denmark becomes the leading donor
in a conflict-ridden world
New optimism: The Wall came down,
the Cold War ended and the Eastern
Bloc was disintegrating. Optimists
talked about a peace dividend the
billions that would be redirected from
military expenditure to the battle
against poverty.
But the optimism was transient:
Iraq invaded Kuwait, and the Balkans
exploded into conflict. The Cold War
seemed to have been replaced by a
wildfire of local and regional conflicts
around the world. Global development
assistance decreased by almost one
third in this decade.
But not Danish development assistance: it actually increased. Because
when the UN conference in Rio in
1992 put the environment on the
international agenda, a broad majority in the Danish Parliament allocated
extra money for environmental and

catastrophe assistance in addition to

the ordinary assistance budget. The
so-called MIKA frame earmarked for
these purposes was established.
In proportional terms Denmark
became the world's leading donor and
made the environment, democracy and
human rights into an export article.

Our condition is not

that there is democracy,
but democratisation.
Minister for Development Cooperation,
Poul Nielson, 1997

p. 48/

p. 49/
Environmental assistance

photo: jrgen schytte/danida

Helping the
world go green
Ozone holes and sustainability Denmark takes the lead when
development assistance needs to be environmentally friendly

The developing countries were sceptical, to put it mildly, when in 1972 the
UN held its first environmental conference in the Swedish capital Stockholm.
Environmental protection was a
luxury for rich countries to afford. Poor
countries, on the other hand, needed to
focus on growth and development.
Much had changed however when
the UN held an environmental conference again 20 years later this time in
Rio in Brazil. The primary issue at the
conference in 1992 was the environment and development. The world
saw new phrases such as ozone hole,
desertification and sustainability.
Rich and poor countries alike
realised that the threat to the environment was global and had to be tackled
internationally. At the same time, the
end of the Cold War meant that there
was the political will and the resources
to engage in other things than military

A new Danish export

Denmark established a Ministry of the
Environment in 1971, but more than
15 years passed before environmental
considerations were incorporated into
Danish development assistance. In
Greens are good for you. Touareg tribesmen cultivate their kitchen gardens
in Niger, as Danish environmental assistance flourishes in the 1990s.

1989, Danida introduced its first environmental action plan.

Real environmental projects
started to emerge, for the benefit of the
environment and Denmark. Danish
companies and public sector authorities were well advanced in the environmental area, so there was a basis for
system exports. Things did not work
equally well every time, however.
Take for example the Danishfinanced waste combustion plant built
in New Delhi in India in the 1980s. The
DKK 150 million plant was no use in
a country where much of the combustible waste was sorted and reused, so
there was only a tiny amount of waste
remaining for combustion.

A leading position
Summit meeting statements are often
accused of being empty promises. But
when the Rio Conference was held in
1992, Denmark took on its part of the
responsibility for the global environment and the words were followed by
action. The same year, a broad majority
in the Danish Parliament established
a new Environmental and catastrophe frame. A special organisation for
environmental assistance, Danced, was
established under the Environmental
Protection Agency in 1994. This was

a break with Danida's monopoly in

state development assistance, and the
enthusiasm showed by the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs was commensurately
Not only was DKK 100 million granted for environmental initiatives under
the new frame. It was also decided that
the frame should gradually grow so that
from 2002, it represented 0.5 percent of
Denmark's GNI.
The money was added to the traditional Danish development assistance.
Denmark thus became the only country to fulfil the Rio Conference aim
of making funds for the environment
additional i.e. not taken from, but
added to the development assistance
The new frame became the start of
a wide range of Danish environmental
initiatives in a number of developing countries. This work continues,
although the frame was ended in
2001, environmental assistance being
integrated into the other development
assistance, now all under Danida's

p. 50/

p. 51/
Development assistance
and business

Business Partnerships

the flag in

Like porn
in a church
Many were more than a little uneasy
when Danida established a business
office in 1986. As Danish Industrial
Confederation director Ove Munch
commented in the magazine Udvikling
in 1987, it was comparable with a
church bookshop starting to sell porn.
The development assistance community and industry were often at
odds with each other during the early
decades, when Danish companies were
criticised for seeing development assistance only as an opportunity to rake
in orders.
But times change. In development
assistance circles and in Danida it
has become more widely recognised
that the importance of a vibrant private
sector in developing countries had
been overlooked. Danida opened the
business office, the PS Programme was
launched along with other business
instruments, and Denmark initiated broader development assistance
programmes targeted at the business
sector in several developing countries.
As the Minister for Development Cooperation, Poul Nielsen, commented in
Danish national newspaper Berlingske
Tidende in 1996:
The philosophy of the Private Sector Programme is that we should try to
introduce companies to the assistance
area in developing countries on the
basis of what they do best. Instead of
getting companies in as project suppliers, it is better to let them operate in
the way that best suits them, namely as

Though much criticized, Danidas private

sector programme has created many jobs
in poor countries
she met Lisbeth Scott Reinbacher of LS
Flag in Hjrring, and before long, 50
Vietnamese workers were busy sewing
Danish national flags, festival flags and
all kinds of other flags for the Danish
The PS programme, later renamed
Business-to-Business (or B2B programme for short), has over the years
supported several hundred partnerships between Danish companies and
businesses in developing countries.
It creates jobs and helps local entrepreneurs and Danish companies
operating in new markets, although
the programme has received some
criticism and far from all the projects
are going as well as the flag production
in Vietnam.

photos: anders birch/polfoto

Seamstress Madam Loc in Vietnam has

a workroom in Hanoi and is looking for
customers. LS Flag in the Danish town
of Hjrring makes flags but prefers to
outsource production since it is too
expensive to manufacture them in Denmark. They get together and receive
help to start their collaboration with a
contribution from Danida's Private Sector (PS) Programme.
The programme began in 1993 as a
pilot project in Egypt, Ghana and India,
and gradually spread to other Danish
programme cooperation countries
including Vietnam. The aim is to help
entrepreneurs and private sector companies in developing countries to get
started by matching them with Danish
In 2000, Tu Thi Bich Loc visited
the Fair Trade exhibition in Copenhagen at the invitation of the Danish
Embassy in Vietnam. At the exhibition

The little flag-waving land to the north creates

jobs in Vietnam and so helps combat poverty.

p. 52/

p. 53/
System change number one

An end to

photo: klaus holsting/danida

The era of small projects comes to an end

now development aid should be managed
through programmes

Things fall apart when donor countries all run their own separate projects without proper
dialogue with the developing country itself. The new words of wisdom from the 1990s.

New Danish sector assistance (1998)

Healthcare sector in Tanzania: DKK 290 million
Road sector in Uganda: DKK 398.5 million
Water sector in Ghana: DKK 193.6 million
Source: Danida's Annual Report 1999

A kindergarten in Nigeria, an abattoir

in Malaysia, a cooperative institute in
Pakistan, a dairy school in Kenya, a
mobile cheese dairy in Lebanon.
There is something for every taste
when you flip the pages of Danida's
annual reports from 1965 to 1968, and
look at the long list of projects that received Danish development assistance
In subsequent years, the projects
became larger but not fewer, and there
were an increasing number of donors:
bilateral, multilateral and private.
Cooperation between the many donors
had not yet become modern; for a
long time the donors thought that it
was better to carry out the projects
themselves rather than cooperate
with local authorities in the developing countries, because the authorities
were plagued by poor education and a
lack of resources, which made them a
So in the first decades of development assistance, there were countless
examples of hospitals, schools and
bridges carrying the sign From the
people of Japan or Donated by USAID/
Danida/World Bank.
But from the early 1990s, a new realisation spread throughout donor and
recipient countries: a country does not
develop itself by scores of donors arriving and carrying out their individual

projects. Cooperation and equality was

the new approach.

New strategic thinking

New phrases became popular in
development assistance jargon: Development cooperation turned into
partnership, and recipient countries
became partnership countries. And
new ideas were incorporated into the
strategy for Danish development policy
that a broad majority in the Danish
Parliament passed in 1994 A world
in development. They continued in its
successor Strategy 2000.
But what did it mean in practice? It
meant that the assistance was to move
from projects to programmes, and concentrate on fewer countries and certain
sectors in the individual countries.
And multi-annual country strategies
and sector programme support were
introduced in close cooperation with
local authorities.
There were still individual projects
in Danida's annual reports in the following years, but they were gradually
joined by multimillion funds for entire
sectors in the developing countries (see
box). These countries and preferably
their democratically elected governments were put in the driver's seat.
See also pages 72/73.

First and foremost: a sharpening

of poverty orientation in Danish
development assistance directly
aimed at the most vulnerable
groups and, not least, the large
group of women who represent
the vast majority of the worlds

photo: joerg boethling/scanpix

Minister for Development Cooperation Helle Degn,

commenting on the new development plan Strategy 2000
in Danida's 1993 Annual Report

Women carry the main burden of the agriculture in many

developing countries. Here cotton piles in Madhya Pradesh, India.

photo: panos pictures/polfoto

p. 56/

p. 57/

Does what
we do work?
The idea that Danida constantly praises
itself is a myth evaluations of development
assistance often voice criticism

In just three months in the spring of

1994, two million people were displaced
and 800,000 killed during the genocide
in Rwanda.
The extent of the catastrophe and
the lack of international action spurred
Danida to initiate a large-scale common
donor evaluation of the international
community's response. This caused
international repercussions since it
directed very sharp criticism at the
international community for not
responding to the warnings before and
during the genocide.
Since 1981, Danida's Evaluation
Department has had the job of keeping
a critical eye on the effect of development assistance. What works? And
what can we learn? Sporadic evaluations existed prior to that time, but
the analytical work at Danida was not
Development assistance can be
difficult to measure. Total success or
total failure are easy to spot, but there

well with the way we think about development assistance: we have cooperation partners, and results are created
together, she says.

is much in between where opinions on

effectiveness can easily differ.
If the objective is to establish 200 wells
in a developing country, but it turns
out that the local government cannot
deliver its share of the contribution, the
number of wells drilled will be less than
planned. But is that poor development
assistance? Or if other parties provide
the lacking money to the farmers, and
the objective is achieved is that good
development assistance?

No beautification
It is sometimes questioned whether
the Danida evaluations are sufficiently
independent and critical, although
Danida does not evaluate its own activities and hires external, independent
consultants. Many of the evaluations of
Danida are in fact quite critical.
The Evaluation Department has
a broad mandate to choose what we
undertake, when we do it, and how. And
all large-scale evaluations are put out
to tender internationally, so that we get
fresh eyes on things. This gives food for
thought in the organisation, and often
provides good ideas on how development assistance can be improved, says
Margrethe Holm Andersen.
In 2010, the National Audit Office of
Denmark concluded that the guidelines on ensuring independence of
evaluations constitute good practice in
the area, and that the Foreign Ministry
generally follows the guidelines.

Collective memory
The questions are no easier to answer
when it concerns for example a largescale programme on good governance, which Denmark is carrying out
together with other donors.
The complexity of development
assistance has become far greater
because of the change from projects
to programmes during the 1990s, and
it has become more difficult to isolate
which effects are caused specifically
by Danish assistance, says Margrethe
Holm Andersen, deputy head of the
Evaluation Department.
Today, we have to consider it
probable that we have contributed to
processes and results which also fits

A large-scale evaluation undertaken by Danida revealed the lack of response

by the international community to the warnings of genocide in Rwanda.

p. 58/

p. 59/
Debates down the years

put pressure
on funds
The break-up of Yugoslavia in 1992
led to conflicts and wars that caused
hundreds of thousands to flee to other
countries, including Denmark. The
stream of refugees put development
assistance under serious pressure.
Denmark spent large sums on receiving refugees, money that according to
international agreements should be
taken from development assistance
budgets. In 1992 it represented eight
percent of the total money spent. The
stream of refugees and the associated
costs continued, until Denmark began
to apply a more restrictive policy
regarding refugees.
But is it fair to use development assistance funds to take in refugees? This
became a controversial and recurring
theme in the debate on development
assistance, just as it did in subsequent
debates on whether these funds should
be used in the fight against terror and
for peace and security, for combating
climate change in developing countries,
or for paying off their debts.
The debate is also an old one. Back in
the 1970s, Denmark used development
assistance funds to receive boat people
from Vietnam. This contravened international agreements, which were later

photo: kirsten bille/scanpix

Denmark's expenditure*
on receiving refugees

Refugees from the Balkans were a heavy burden on the assistance budget. Several
of them lived on the Danish Red Cross ship Flotel Europa in Copenhagen Harbour.


EUR 85 million


EUR 128 million


EUR 113 million

*EUR equivalent
Source: Danida's Annual Report 1999

The Peace Observer

Folmer from Ls
engages in democracy

Folmer Hjort Kristensen

Born 1944. Graduated as a bachelor
of commerce in 1975. Employed in
Ls Municipality from 1982, while
concurrently undertaking 15 missions for
Denmark's International Humanitarian
Service. Still a member of the council of
Ls Municipality.
photo: privat foto

With your experience as head of the

election committee in Vester Harbour
and as a UN soldier in Cyprus, this is
something for you.
So said the mayor of the Danish
island of Ls to his finance director,
when Namibia held a general election
in 1989, and there was a request for
Danish observers.
Shortly after, Folmer Hjorth Kristensen the finance director was on
his way to Africa. He was one of many
Danes who during the 1990s supplied Denmark's new export product:
When the Berlin Wall came down in
1989 and the Cold War ended, a wave of
democracy washed over both Eastern
Europe and Africa. And Denmark
wanted to join the wave. The Democracy Fund was established in 1990,
Danish election experts travelled the
world, Danish-produced ballot boxes in
transparent plastic helped create openness, and Denmark's International
Humanitarian Service (IHB) deployed
legions of election observers.

Folmer from Ls was one of them. He

has since retired from Ls Municipality, but is still active in IHB. Over the
years, he has been on 15 missions, two
of which were long-term assignments in
Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo.
The Namibia mission however made
a special impression on him:
A white farmer came with 40 or 50
of his workers on the back of his truck,
made them stand in the queue of people waiting to vote and spoke harshly
to them. We told him to find another
place to talk so that the voters could
have some peace and quiet, at which
the entire queue clapped and thanked
us. A moment like that shows how we
made a difference.

photo: peter hove olesen/polfoto

Development cooperation is an integrated

part of foreign and
security policy.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Per Stig Mller, 2002


p. 61/

When something
Global events write history,
and Denmark joins in
For several decades, the world had
talked about poverty and inequality.
Now was the time for action, said UN
member states when the new millennium started. The modern world was
more connected than ever. Globalisation was the buzzword. And in this
new but less intimate world, a year
is designated for the achievement of
goals: 2015. By that year, poverty must
have been reduced. And more people
must have achieved better health, education and other basic conditions.
Optimism was alive. But it was
marred by new global events. The
terror attack on the United States on
Tuesday 11 September 2001 turned
everything upside down.

Danish soldiers on the route between the Danish bases

Camp Bastion and Camp Price in Afghanistan, 2008.

Also in Denmark, which took part in

the subsequent interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. This rubbed off on
Danish development assistance.
New considerations were incorporated into assistance: Security and the
fight against terrorism. And the wish
to get involved in what were termed
fragile states. Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan
and Pakistan were added to the list of
countries receiving Danish development assistance.

p. 62/

p. 63/

Wake-up call

Terror hits the Twin

Towers and Danish aid

Poverty = Extremism
The 9/11 terror attack was a serious
wake-up call for wealthy countries,
which realised that they had to work
determinedly to combat poverty and
political repression in poor countries.
According to analyses made at the
time, poverty and repression acted to
fan the flames of fanaticism, extremism and political violence. This view
was however contradicted by the fact
that those who carried out the terror
attacks in the US in 2001, in Madrid in
2004 and in London in 2005 were not
deeply impoverished people. But their

methods inspired the desperately poor,

the argument was put.
The first region to be focused on was
Afghanistan, where what was to be a 10
year military engagement began with
the air bombardment by the US and
Great Britain of several Afghan towns
in October 2001. Afterwards came the
invasion in which Denmark participated, first militarily and subsequently
with reconstruction support. In the
period 2002-2006 alone, Denmark set
aside DKK 785 million for long-term
support in Afghanistan, including
humanitarian assistance.

Civilian and military initiative

The poor security situation made reconstruction work a difficult task, however.
So in 2004, Denmark launched
an initiative to coordinate civilian
and military operations, not only in
Afghanistan but also in other conflictaffected countries. This move was met
with scepticism and set alarm bells
ringing in the aid organisations, which
feared signal confusion if soldiers were
to wield weapons in one hand and build
bridges with the other. They feared
that the initiative would make it more
dangerous to be an aid worker.
But Denmark thought that the
coordination of civilian and military
operations was important to create stability and to reconstruct the country
and provide long-term development as-

sistance. So Danish soldiers were given

the task of protecting civilian advisors
while at the same time carrying out development assistance projects in areas
where it was too dangerous for civilian
advisors to work. >

The Danish-Arab Partnership


Signal confusion? Not everyone thought it was a good idea when Denmark
coupled civil support work to military operations in Afghanistan.

As a companion activity to the fight against

terror, the then Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Per Stig Mller, launched the epoch-making
Danish-Arab Partnership Programme in 2003
to promote dialogue between the Arab world
in the Middle East and North Africa.
But Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten's
cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in 2006
resulted in the initiative suffering a serious
setback. Anger at the cartoons threw Denmark
into an unprecedentedly serious crisis with the
Arab countries. The initiative survived, but it
was an uphill struggle for several years.
This was also the case in Pakistan, where
in 2008 the Danish Embassy was subjected
to a terror attack, apparently because of the
Muhammad cartoons. It happened at a time
when it was becoming increasingly clear that
militant groups on the border were involved
in attacks in Afghanistan.
In 2009, Denmark tripled its development
assistance to Pakistan in an attempt to create
development and stability in the border area.
The publication in Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad put serious strain
on the Danish-Arab Partnership Programme designed to promote dialogue between Denmark and the Middle East.

photo: mohammed salem/scanpix

When the planes crashed into the

World Trade Centre in New York on
11 September 2001, the world changed
for ever. The first few minutes of shock
and disbelief were replaced by fear and
frantic activity in government offices
the world over, including Denmark.
The tragic events of that day signalled
the start of far-reaching change in Danish development assistance, that in the
coming decade would become an integrated part of Danish foreign policy.
"The world has opened its eyes to
the fact that terrorism and fundamentalism must also be combatted with
development," said the former Minister
for Foreign Affairs, Per Stig Mller.
In other words, the fight against
poverty had also become the fight for
our own security.

photo: carsten sandberg/media center of min. of defense

The attack on the United States in 2001 had major consequences for
Danish development cooperation policy, which in the decade since has
gone in new directions that were previously unthinkable

p. 64/

Progress in fragile states

photo: jochem wijnands/scanpix

In 2003, a US-led coalition entered

Iraq and deposed the dictator Saddam
Hussein in furtherance of the fight
against terror.
Denmark contributed militarily
and launched a controversial DKK
170 million development assistance
programme for democracy, reconciliation and reconstruction in Iraq. The
programme included Danish police
officers training Iraqi policemen with a

view to creating a constitutional state.

Even Danish archaeologists got desert
dust under their nails in their efforts
to trace mass graves in the war-torn
Despite its operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, Denmark was criticised
several times for not being sufficiently
daring. Critics said that Denmark
focused its development assistance on
stable countries, but turned its back
on what was estimated in 2010 to be
43 fragile or failed states. Denmark did
not agree, and referred to its operations
in Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan. But
by the end of the decade, Denmark
nevertheless gave higher priority to
operations in fragile states.
Just a few years ago, it was almost
unthinkable that in 2004 we should deploy so many resources in failed states,
said the head of Danida, Carsten Staur,
in 2004.

Activities in local areas

The Regions of Origin Initiative (ROI) was another activity commenced in the first decade
of the new millennium.
The aim was to relieve the often poor
countries, which unaided had to handle large
refugee camps, both as a contribution to
reconciliation and to help people displaced
by conflicts close to their home countries,
and also to reduce the flow of refugees to
An example of Denmark's ROI was in Sudan,
which for decades was affected by the
conflict between north and south. In 2005,
a peace agreement between the parties gave
hope, and Denmark set off DKK 500 million
over a period of four years for humanitarian
and rebuilding assistance, including DKK 119
million for ROI.

New focus

The new millennium
sees the prime minister
becoming involved
in the developing
countries and Africa

At the start of the new millennium,

Africa was barely on the agenda, either
internationally or in Denmark. The
continent had spent several decades
wandering in an economic wilderness,
blighted by chronic food shortages and
poor governance.
In Denmark, development and
environmental assistance was cut
when a new government came to power
in 2001. Three African countries
Eritrea, Malawi and Zimbabwe were
discontinued as Danish programme
cooperation countries.
But then something suddenly happened. In 2004, Denmark formulated
its first Africa strategy: Africa development and security. And in the following
year, the then Prime Minister Anders
Fogh Rasmussen, who was heading
the government's new Africa initiative,
announced that Mali was to become a
new African cooperation country.
In autumn 2005, Rasmussen became
the first Danish prime minister to
make an official visit to the African
development cooperation countries of
Tanzania and Mozambique.
Afghan women could neither work nor attend school under the Taliban regime. Improving the situation
for women and girls has become an important focus area for Danish assistance in Afghanistan.

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen flanked by Liberia's President Ellen
Johnson Sirleaf (left) and Mozambique's Prime Minister Luisa Diogo (right) in 2008.

In doing so he was following in the

footsteps of US President George W.
Bush and British Prime Minister Tony
Blair, both of whom maintained a high
profile in Africa. But no extra development assistance was forthcoming after
the visit. On the contrary, assistance
took a dive during that period (See
also pages 8-9).

Private sector to the rescue

It was clear at an early stage that the
Africa initiative coincided with a significantly increased focus on the private
Africa is burdened by bureaucracy
and protracted procedures. In Denmark, it takes four days to establish a
company. In Ghana, it takes 85 days.
That is not something which promotes
private sector initiatives, said Rasmussen in a speech at the Danish Council
for International Development Work.
Shortly afterwards, Rasmussen hosted a major international conference on
Africa in Copenhagen, where he made
it clear that Africa would be a more
significant focus area, and announced
that the government would allocate an

extra DKK 655 million to development

assistance in Africa.
Almost all the extra development
assistance that the growth in the Danish economy triggered in the following
year was set aside for Africa, despite the
general cut in development assistance.
And yet more attention was directed
at Africa when in the spring of 2008,
the Prime Minister launched the Africa
Commission. Rasmussen called it the
biggest Danish development policy
initiative ever and said that the Commission's work would break with old
development socialism in Africa.
The focus was on the creation of
growth and jobs, especially among
Africa's youth, and the private sector
would provide the momentum. The
aim was to get Africa aboard the
globalisation train by kick-starting the
private sector.

photo: jens dige/polfoto

> In 2009, the Danish parliament took

due note of the growing international
consensus that a sharp division of
civilian and military operations had
hitherto impeded their implementation
in fragile states. DKK 150 million was
set aside to improve the coordination of
civilian and military operations, which
also became a cornerstone in Denmark's strategy in Afghanistan in 2008.

p. 65/

photo: mikkel stergaard/danida

Staff at the Magistrates Court in Murewa in Zimbabwe working

with the cases, while relatives of the accused wait outside.

p. 68/

p. 69/

Denmark and the UN

The head of Department

Small but big

A sizeable contribution to the UN since the beginning of
development assistance has ensured Denmark a high return

rendering: 3xn

From Nordic dreams to EU reality

The new regional UN headquaters in Copenhagen opens in 2013.

The Danish government was quick to

realise that the UN gives small countries like Denmark an opportunity to
reach the whole world.
When Danish development assistance was created in 1962, almost all the
money was allocated to the developing
countries through multilateral channels
in other words through international
organisations like the World Bank and
UN organisations.
But that quickly changed. There
was a wish to give the funds directly to
countries i.e. bilateral assistance. Four
years later, this was implemented with
a 50/50 split, which henceforth became
the norm with broad political support.

Economic muscle power

Over the years, we pump lots of money
into international organisations, but
what do we get out of it? In 1996, Denmark instituted a strategy for active
multilateralism. It signaled a much
more critical line towards multilateral assistance, with Denmark adopting financial body language, as the Minister for

Development Cooperation, Poul Nielson, put it. The aim of active multilateralism was twofold: to ensure increased
effectiveness and better results.

Useful political returns

Today the contributions to the UN have
become good business for Denmark.
In 2009, the UN acquired products
and services from Danish companies
valued at DKK 2 billion. Denmark's
contribution to the UN in the same
year was DKK 1.5 billion.
Copenhagen is the sixth largest UN
headquarters in the world, and in 2013,
the construction of a new 'UN city' in
the northern harbour area of the Port
of Copenhagen will be completed,
bringing together all UN activities in
the capital in one massive regional
But the returns are primarily political. With its large contribution, Denmark has gained influence on how UN
funds are used, and it can also promote
key Danish issues such as the environment and equality.

There is a lot you can achieve independently.

But together you can achieve even more.
That was the mantra in the early decades of
development assistance, when the Nordic
countries thought of donor coordination long
before the idea became modern.
Nordic development assistance cooperation peaked with an ambitious agricultural
project launched in Mozambique in 1977,
which received more than DKK 1 billion in
Nordic assistance until it ended in 1990. That
was also the last project. When Denmark
joined the EC in 1973, the dream of Nordic
project cooperation melted away.

Big man in
the driving seat

Hello to the EC
It was hardly with the developing countries in
mind that Denmark voted to join the European Community. The EC was associated with
agricultural subsidies and surplus stocks of
agricultural products which were dumped
on the developing countries disguised as
emergency aid or lubricated along by exports
The EC did provide development assistance
which Denmark would contribute to, despite its
bad reputation.
But that changed. The EC and later the EU
made trade agreements with the developing
countries that ensured better access to the EU
And EU development assistance became
bigger and better, so that today the EU and EU
member states all together are the world's
largest donors.

Pius Bigirimana
Born 1958 in Uganda. Studied political
science and public administration at
Makerere University in Kampala and
later obtained several academic degrees
including economics. Employed in
the state administration since 1993
initially in the President's office and
now in the Prime Minister's office.
photo: steve murigi

Pius Bigirimana is known as Piusbigman, because Pius is a big man in

Uganda. He is Permanent Secretary in
the Prime Minister's office and one of
the Africans who occupy the driving
seat when African authorities meet
with donors or development partners
as they now are called.
Pius Bigirimana is proud that
Uganda's experiences from the mid
1990s and onwards helped pave the
way for the Paris Declaration in 2005. It
established international principles for
more effective development assistance.
Previously each development
partner had its own programmes which
they carried out in their own way. It
was impossible to gain an overview of
who did what, and it led to overlapping
activities in some places, while in other
places virtually nothing happened. It
was both unsatisfactory and ineffective, he says.
We are now instead working according to a shared strategy based
on Uganda's own development plan.
It gives us a lot more influence and a

better overview. It makes the assistance

more effective and delivers far better
But there are still problems on both
sides of the table. Uganda is still struggling with corruption, and a significant
number of development partners are
continuing to run things their own way
because of the corruption.
We are struggling with limited
resources and capacity in our public
systems, and that can lead to abuse
and corruption. But our capacity
is undermined if our development
partners do not use our systems. We
have a common interest in strengthening them, and we are ready, says Pius

p. 70/

p. 71/

System change number two

Goodbye to donor rule

and hello to shared strategies headed
by the developing countries
JAS the Joint Assistance Strategy
was added to the list of positive phrases
in development assistance jargon during the 00s.
It signified yet another quantum leap
in development cooperation taken since
donors in the 1990s started harmonising their many stand-alone projects in
sector and country programmes.
An increasing number of countries
developed a JAS, a shared strategy
devised in close cooperation with local
authorities and, if not with all donors,
then with most of them. These strategies are typically based on the recipient
country's own development strategy.

photo: safn ahmed/demotix/scanpix

Everybody takes part

Will it fly? A child at play in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is one of the countries that

developed a JAS, and this has made life
easier for the head of donor relations in
the Ministry of Finance, M. Musharraf
Hossain Bhuiyan.
Previously our dialogue with
development partners was limited
and fragmented. Bangladesh has more
than 30 development partners, each
with their own strategies, procedures
and systems, and that makes things
difficult. Now everybody gets round the
table and knows what is going on. And
the development partners are starting
to harmonise their procedures and
adjust them to our systems, he says.
The Danish Embassy in Bangladesh
has as in several other countries
played a very active role in donor harmonisation. According to Ambassador
Svend Olling, this policy is deliberate.
Danish development assistance
is modest when one looks at the total
economy of Bangladesh, but we have
a good reputation here. We are not

troubled by a colonial past and are

not suspected of hidden agendas with
our assistance. So our voice carries
a certain weight. We have used that
weight in the shared strategy work and
have altogether improved cooperation,
among the donors, and between donors
and government at all levels, says
Svend Olling.

New times, new methods

The new way of providing assistance
involves donors like Denmark increasingly putting their funds into a shared
pool. When the cooperation has
advanced to a high level, donor funds
are included directly in the recipient
country's own budgets, so that there is
a full overview of all the funds, and an
overall prioritisation can then be made.
Svend Olling concedes that it means
less directly visible results from Danish development assistance such as
Danish-financed water pumps and
health clinics.
But importantly, the government
and parliament in Bangladesh gain a
lot more insight into, and influence
over, how the total resources are used
and prioritised, he says.
The large-scale, global development
assistance strategy was created in Paris
in 2005, when representatives from
more than 100 countries and organisations such as the UN and the World
Bank announced the Paris Declaration for more effective assistance with
keywords like ownership, harmonisation and adjustment.
The time of donor-ruled individual
projects had ended. Now the recipient
countries were in the driving seat. At
least in principle

p. 72/

p. 73/

Danida and the press

The money
goes into the
wrong pockets
Danish development assistance gets a thrashing in the press
fraud and corruption make especially good material
That's why I never give a single penny
to aid organisations. It's fraud, bureaucracy and corruption, all of it, raved
Josefine Jensen.
She was one of many indignant bloggers on the website of the now-defunct
newspaper Nyhedsavisen. The reason
for her ire was a series of articles about
fraud in Danish development assistance. At least DKK 176 million was
defrauded from 2004 to 2008, the newspaper wrote, after it had been given
access to the records of more than 200
cases which Danida had reported to the
National Audit Office of Denmark.
According to Danida only DKK 17.6
million ended up in the wrong pockets,
corresponding to 0.04 percent of the
total development assistance budget
of DKK 50 billion during that period.
But Danida did acknowledge that the
money had been lost.

Front page revelations

Danida and Danish development assistance are ridiculed in the

Danish tabloid press and elsewhere. The headlines read (from the top):
Danish dairies end up as scrap metal, Dictators are lining their pockets
Aid money goes to (fraudsters), Christmas Calendar donations swindle,
Danida busy fools in a business world.

The articles in Nyhedsavisen echoed

many similar revelations that have
accompanied Danish development
assistance almost from the start
from the first disclosure of the white
elephants of development assistance to

more recent revelations of funds lost as

a result of fraud and corruption.
When Danish development assistance celebrated its 20th anniversary
in 1982, tabloid newspaper Ekstra
Bladet ran a front page with the blaring
headline Here is your development
aid. In a series of articles, the newspaper, which over the years had been an
assiduous supplier of exposs concerning development assistance, painted
a picture of Denmark's development
assistance as broken and fruitless. Or as
the newspaper itself wrote: A shocking
portrait of your development aid: Projects worth many millions lie in scrapheaps. The poor have become poorer
and the rich richer. Millions of kroner
have been poured down the drain.
At other times, it was auditor generals and government auditors who
delivered the criticism for example in
2002, when state auditors sharply criticised the Ministry of Foreign Affairs'
control over Denmark's DKK 6 billion
annual bilateral support to developing

Zero tolerance
The fraud cases in the press resulted
in Danida introducing a policy of zero

tolerance to corruption in 2003. It was

accompanied by a code of conduct in
the form of ten commandments aimed
at preventing money passing under the
counter. Danida, which had previously
combated corruption through programmes for good governance, for the
first time launched a comprehensive
plan for the battle against corruption,
which all Danish and foreign Danida
employees were obliged to follow.
From 2008 onwards, the initiative
was followed up with a new feature
in Danida's annual report: an outline
of cases of suspected fraud and corruption with Danish development
assistance funds, where the project
country, the name of the partner and
the sum involved were published. The
current Minister for Development
Cooperation, Christian Friis Bach, announced in January 2012 that all cases
of substantiated suspicion of fraud will
be presented on a regular basis.

p. 74/

An external view

Enthusiasm tinged
with realism
For years, international experts have praised Denmark for the quality
of its development assistance, and at home the Danish people give
fulsome support most of the time

pressed concern over staff cutbacks in

the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and cuts
in funding for information.

Sceptical Danes
The Danish people also give their
backing to development assistance. So
shows more than 50 years of surveys
of popular support. There have been
some sudden swings in particular years,
but the trend is clearly visible: the
people of Denmark think that development assistance is a good idea.
But it also turns out that Danish citizens are consistently less positive when
asked whether they think development
assistance does any good. In 2008, a
survey showed that 61 percent of the
population had little or no belief in
the idea that state assistance helps the
Around half the population thinks
that the bulk of development assistance ends up in the wrong hands. This
is a constant threat to the popularity
of development assistance, which from
the very start all players have stressed
is essential. More information, more
campaigns and more debate have
been repeatedly flagged as the tools for
stimulating support.

Popular support for

development assistance
0% 25% 50% 100%
Source: Danidas Annual Reports.

Development Assistance
Committee DAC
The Development Assistance Committee
(DAC) is a part of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
OECD was founded in 1948 as the OEEC,
the Organisation for European Economic
Cooperation, to administrate the USA's enormous Marshall Plan (officially the European
Recovery Program). In 1961 the OEEC changed
its name to OECD and simultaneously established DAC, since many former colonies were
at that time becoming independent and had
need of development assistance.

Both Danish and international experts look

positively on Danish development assistance.

photo: mikkel stergaard /danida

A bouquet of roses. That's a fitting

description for the outcome of oftrepeated audits of Danish development
assistance down the years.
The scrutiny is conducted periodically by the international development
assistance bookkeeper DAC (see box).
In 1995, DAC concluded that Danish
development cooperation is among the
assistance programmes which inspire
public confidence and optimism, not
only in Denmark but also in other
In 2011 the tone was similarly positive:
Danish development cooperation
is of high calibre. Denmark's contribution to global development through
effective partnerships with governments and civil society in developing
countries, sets a good example to other
donors. The work of strengthening
voluntary organisations helps ensure
that poor people have a voice.
But there are also thorns on DAC's
roses. In 2007 for example, DAC ex-

p. 76/

p. 77/


The eye that sees

What makes a good photo of a developing country ? Meet three
experienced photographers who specialise in working there

photo: jonathan bjerg mller

photo: jrgen schytte/danida

Child labour is unavoidable for many families in Bangladesh, otherwise they would not have enough
to eat. In Kuziartek children spend much of the day on the mud flats, searching for small fish.

The water pump a Danida icon. "I like this photo because it says
a lot about daily life for many people." The image is from Niger.

What do you aim for when you are

on assignment?
To give as realistic a picture of reality
as I can. It is about describing the great
contrast between the few incredibly
rich and all those who live a wretched
life and haven't got two pennies to rub
together. I am especially interested in
daily life among ordinary people. I try
to be open to what occupies people,
and the often harsh stories they tell.
Jrgen Schytte
Born 1939. Has photographed in
developing countries for 35 years.

What makes a good photo of

a developing country?
An image which shows daily life and
the conditions under which many people live, whether it is at work, at home
or in the village.

What do you think about the way

in which developing countries are
portrayed in the media today?

What do you aim for when you are

on assignment?
I always go in the exact opposite direction of all the others. When they go to
Haiti, I go to West Africa or Asia. There
is too much of a herd mentality in the
media today, and I don't want to be part
of that. I want to make the stories that
I think are important, fascinating or

It is generally positive, with a few

exceptions. Some take photos in a different way than when I started. There
are more creative and abstract images,
where I sometimes think: What on
earth is that? Others are really good
and trigger the imagination.
Jonathan Bjerg Mller
Born 1978. Has photographed in
developing countries for 4 years.

What makes a good photo of

a developing country?
An image which perhaps makes a
small difference, or makes people
think. One cannot save the world with
images, but one can perhaps make
people stop and think a bit about why

things are the way they are. I think that

Danes today have far too little knowledge of the world. We are living in a
safe little bubble in this country.

What do you think about the way

in which developing countries are
portrayed in the media today?
There is too much superficial content
produced today. I miss new thinking
in the traditional media, in NGOs and
in Danida. Sometimes I think they
have not yet discovered that media
habits have changed in recent years,
and that it has become more difficult
to get people's attention. So I think it is
important that one spends time varying
the stories and producing quality.

photo: tine harden

p. 78/

"The girls are two Touareg friends, whom I met at a well in Jygawa
Boka in Niger in August 2006," says photographer Tine Harden.

What do you aim for when you are

on assignment?

Tine Harden
Born 1960. Has photographed in
developing countries for 20 years.

It depends on the role I have. If I am on

an assignment to cover a catastrophe,
then that is what needs to be shown.
But if I am on free assignment in Africa,
I choose joy of life and life-affirming
stories, which pull in a different direction, so that people gain a more varied
view of developing countries. I find all
the classic images of suffering that we
are bombarded with, nauseating. I am
often criticised for being too positive,
but with the opposite approach there is
never any criticism of being one-dimensionally negative.

What makes a good photo of

a developing country?
The word also is important. Naturally,
the tragic images of misery and catastrophe must be there, but one could

also take photos of what constitutes

the daily lives of the vast majority of
Africans. Why do we never see that?
We are always showing everything
being terribly awful.

What do you think about the way

in which developing countries are
portrayed in the media today?
Most media no longer have the time or
can afford to send photographers out
on assignments to get different stories
with new angles. Instead they obtain
the images from big agencies, and
generally speaking these agencies only
go after the big catastrophes.

It didn't occur to us at the time, in

the early 1960s, that some of us
would reach the other side of the 25th
anniversary of Danish development
assistance. We really believed that the
development decade it was not until
later that it became the first decade
would provide so many transfers
and initiate so much activity that
growth would come, and that extreme
poverty would be eradicated. Since
then, I have always had the thought in
the back of my mind that things don't
always go as you think they will.
Christian Kelm-Hansen
In an interview in Danidas magazine Udvikling issue 6/1989,
when he stepped down as the chairman of the Danida Board.