Donor Profile


Last updated: January 20, 2024

ODA Spending

How much ODA does Denmark contribute?

In 2022, Denmark provided US$2.9 billion in ODA funding, according to the OECD’s preliminary figures. By volume, Denmark ranked 15th among DAC donors. In 2022 Denmark’s ODA/GNI ratio was 0.7%, ranking 8th among DAC countries.

How is Denmark's ODA changing?

Denmark’s ODA volume increased by 7% from 2018 to 2022. Excluding in-donor refugee costs, support to Ukraine (beginning 2022), and COVID-19 vaccine dose donations (beginning 2021), Denmark's ODA/GNI ratio in 2022 was 0.52%, a significant decline from 0.70% in 2018.

How is Denmark's ODA allocated?

In 2022, US$ 1 billion (35%) of Denmark’s ODA was spent on: in-donor refugee costs ( US$471 million, (16%); contributions to the EU (US$388 million, 13%), support to Ukraine ( US$152 million, 5%); and COVID-19 vaccine dose donations ( US$11 million, 0.4%). In comparison, the total DAC share for the same year was 25%. This left US$1.9 billion of ODA for development priorities.

In 2021, 69% of Denmark’s ODA was channeled bilaterally, including direct and earmarked funding, exceeding the DAC average of 59%. Denmark’s share of ODA channeled as direct bilateral funding was 39%, compared to the DAC average of 43%. In 2021, 31% of total gross ODA was core funding to multilaterals compared to the DAC average of 41% in 2021. 40% of Danish multilateral funding was channeled to the EU.

Bilateral Spending

Denmark's top five partner countries in 2021 were Afghanistan, Mali, Syrian Arab Republic, Ethiopia and Uganda.

Multilateral Spending and Commitments

In 2021, Denmark’s core funding to multilaterals was US$908 million, or 31%, of total gross ODA.

What is the future of Denmark's ODA?

As the Danish government has a budget adjustment mechanism which ensures that ODA spending averages a 0.7% ODA/GNI ratio over a three-year period, it is expected that there will be a continuation of the 0.7% ODA/GNI spending ratio in the future.

Politics & Priorities

What is the current state of Denmark's politics?

The Frederiksen government (2022-2026), led by the Social Democrat Mette Frederiksen, is a centrist coalition comprising the Social Democrats, the Liberals, and the Moderates. This government holds a majority, which is unusual for the Danish parliamentary system. Typically, minority governments are more common in Denmark, allowing more influence to opposition parties that form alliances with the government.

The current government is not very popular in polls, and changes to Liberal party leadership have challenged the coalition's stability. The Liberals appointed Troels Lund Poulsen in November 2023 after Jakob Ellemann-Jensen resigned in late October 2023.

For the first time, Dan Jørgensen, the Minister for Development Cooperation, has assumed a dual role, taking responsibility for Global Climate Policy. This dual portfolio presents both risks and opportunities. There is concern that new initiatives may disproportionately focus on climate issues, potentially neglecting other development priorities. Conversely, there is the potential to closely align broader development and climate agendas and access new funding streams.

The next general election will be held by October 2026.

Who is responsible for allocating ODA?

The Danish MFA is responsible for the policy, coordination and implementation of the country’s development cooperation, and oversees the majority of Denmark’s ODA budget. The MFA hosts public consultations to receive feedback on its international development policies and strategies.

What are Denmark's development priorities?

Denmark’s 2021-2025 policy The World We Share strives for a more secure and sustainable world free from poverty. Development cooperation aims to:

  1. Help more people where it is hardest by preventing and fighting poverty and inequality, conflict and displacement, irregular migration, and fragility; and
  2. Lead the fight against climate change and restore balance to the planet.

In achieving these objectives, Denmark centers its development assistance around democratic values and human rights as the foundation of development cooperation, with a strong focus on the following priorities:

  • Democracy, human rights and free civil societies in the era of digitization;
  • Rights and dignity of marginalized groups;
  • Gender equality, girls and women’s rights;
  • Meaningful participation of young People; and
  • Effective, democratic and responsible states.


The Finance Act serves as Denmark's budget for the upcoming year, and is proposed and negotiated on an annual basis. The Finance Act can also be adjusted during the current fiscal year to allow for changes in expenditure.

Budget Cycle

  • January: The Ministry of Finance prepares the draft budget priorities. CSOs are engaged in formal consultations on Denmark's development priorities.
  • March-May: The ministries prepare budget submissions and proposals to the Ministry of Finance
  • May-August: The relevant ministers negotiate spending and the draft budget is submitted to the Ministry of Finance.
  • End of August: The proposed budget (Finance bill) is presented to Parliament.
  • September: The Finance bill is debated in Parliament.
  • December: All proposed changes to the Finance bill are approved during the third and final budget reading.

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The 'Codebook for Donor Profile Data' presents the methodology and data sources used in each section of our Donor Profiles.

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At Donor Tracker, we prefer not to call it aid.

Our Denmark Experts

Lauren Ashmore

Lauren Ashmore

Associate Consultant

The Donor Tracker team, along with many DAC donor countries, no longer uses the term "foreign aid". In the modern world, "foreign aid" is monodirectional and insufficient to describe the complex nature of global development work, which, when done right, involves the establishment of profound economic and cultural ties between partners.

We strongly prefer the term Official Development Assistance (ODA) and utilize specific terms such as grant funding, loans, private sector investment, etc., which provide a clearer picture of what is concretely occurring. “Foreign aid” will be referenced for accuracy when referring to specific policies that use the term. Read more in this Donor Tracker Insight.

Issue Deep-Dives

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Our Denmark Experts

Lauren Ashmore

Lauren Ashmore

Associate Consultant