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Danish report
by Euro Reporter
2013-10-24 13:05:10
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Denmark launches ‘Opportunity Africa’

The Danish government is launching a new political initiative ‘Opportunity Africa’ in order to boost Denmark’s presence in Africa. Opportunity Africa combines foreign policy, development co-operation as well as trade and investment. The initiative supports an inclusive and green economic growth in Africa. Despite the positive economic development the past decade in African countries, they still face risks and challenges that could undermine or even reverse their achievements. These risks include extreme poverty, inequality, fragile states and defining the right type of governance to ensure sustainable exploitation of natural resources. The Danish government wants a closer co-operation with partners in Africa who work for inclusive growth, job creation and entrepreneurship in Africa. Therefore there is a need for an intensified economic diplomacy at the intergovernmental level in Africa, to promote reforms which support inclusive and green growth on the continent. This growth would be sustainable and self-strengthening – ensuring the African citizens further economic self-determination. Denmark has for many decades been a world front runner in supporting good governance as well as economic development in Africa with its development co-operation. Denmark is one of the few countries in the world that meets the UN target of giving at least 0.7 per cent of the country’s Gross National Income in foreign aid.

“We want to provide better support to the Danish companies in order to pass the threshold to the African markets, so they can contribute in meeting local development needs and create more green growth and employment. In 2013 and 2014, Denmark will pledge approximately 3.8 billion DKK for inclusive and green growth in Africa, mainly through bilateral development co-operation with priority countries, where we spend 3 billion DKK,” says Christian Friis Bach, Minister of Development Cooperation in Denmark. “In 2013/2014, our development cooperation will include pledges of approximately 840 million Danish Kroner in support through regional and sub-regional African institutions which have an important role to play in the scramble to seize the current momentum for growth in Africa.”

The total Danish export in goods with African countries, which Denmark has prioritized development cooperation with, amounted to 782.5 million DKK in 2012. However in light of the high average GDP growth in African countries, this figure could become much higher in the upcoming years. “There is a huge demand in Africa for sustainable investments in order to boost inclusive and green economic growth in the region. I think regional economic integration, development cooperation and commercial engagement must often go hand in hand in order to make this happen,” says Nick Hækkerup, Minister of Trade and European Affairs in Denmark. “The increasing need for energy and continued strain on natural resources in African countries demand governments and private companies work together in order to ensure that economic growth is sustainable and inclusive.” The new initiative “Opportunity Africa” highlights the synergies between the Danish support to regional integration and sustainable economic growth in Africa; Danish development cooperation in Africa and Danish bilateral trade with African countries.


Denmark consumer confidence falls for second month

Denmark's consumer confidence declined for the second consecutive month in October, data released by Statistics Denmark showed on Wednesday. The consumer confidence indicator fell to 4.6 from September's 4.7. In August, the confidence indicator had jumped to 5.9.

Households were slightly pessimistic regarding their current economic situation compared to last year. The corresponding indicator fell to -1 from 1.8 in the previous month.

However, households' optimism regarding their future economic situation remained unchanged, with the index reading holding steady at 11.3. Consumers were also more positive regarding the country's current economic situation compared to a year ago. The relevant index rose to 5.9 from 4.


Denmark recognized for inspiring leadership on climate and energy policies

Global conservation organization WWF has applauded Denmark’s ambitious climate achievements and its commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy across the entire economy by 2050.
Denmark will receive a Gift to the Earth, WWF’s most prestigious award for governments, companies and other organizations, presented by Jim Leape, WWF International Director General, to the Prime Minister of Denmark, Ms. Helle Thorning-Schmidt on 21 October. “Denmark shows that it is possible to develop a sustainable society and at the same time secure economic growth and welfare. It is the lighthouse we need to show that change is possible. Hopefully other countries will look toward Denmark for inspiration to rise to the urgent challenge of protecting the Earth’s climate. As a global conservation organization, WWF recognizes Danish leadership on this important matter,” says Jim Leape, WWF International Director General.  The world must develop an equitable low carbon economy by 2050, which is achievable, as outlined in WWF’s The Energy Report, 100% Renewable Energy by 2050.

But despite compelling scientific evidence of the need for this to happen, the world is not reacting quickly enough. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just re-confirmed that the Earth is warming at an alarming rate. These temperature changes are already having serious consequences for people and nature. Hence, more than two thirds of presently existing fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground to address climate change, while major investors, including governments, must shift their focus to enabling renewable energy and phasing out investment in fossil fuels, especially coal. “We know that the world’s current economic growth model is no longer sustainable. Denmark is demonstrating strong leadership by showing the potential for long-term sustainable growth through the development of renewable energy and energy efficient solutions,” says Jim Leape.

Gitte Seeberg, WWF-Denmark CEO, is proud to promote Denmark as a global example of how the climate challenge can be addressed. “Since the oil crisis in the 1970s the Danish Parliament has had a strong and long tradition of cooperating on renewable energy and energy efficiency policies. We are thrilled that the present government and Parliament has taken even further ambitious steps to bring Denmark on the safe road towards a 100% renewable society in 2050”

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