Incumbent Danish Party Reportedly Wants End To Vietnam Aid

This week the political party Venstre – the party of Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen – will announce its suggestions for the future distribution of Danish financial aid to the Third World. According to Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende, who has spoken to Venstre’s foreign policy spokesman Troels Lund Poulsen, some historic changes may be under way.
     Poulsen reveals that Venstre wishes to re-direct more funds to Africa and Latin America at the expense of Asia – and especially at the expense of Vietnam, who is currently in the top three of countries receiving the most financial aid from Denmark’s official aid organization, Danida.
     “Within the next three to four years Vietnam will be in a situation, where Danish aid will no longer make any sense,” Troels Lund Poulsen tells Berlingske Tidende, referring to Vietnam’s rapid economic growth over the last years.
     With more than 70 million inhabitants Vietnam is currently one of Southeast Asia’s economic engines – along with Thailand and Malaysia. According to Venstre, this will soon justify a termination of the financial support to the country. But that does not necessarily mean that other poor countries in Asia should expect to benefit from Danida’s downsizing in Vietnam.
     “Instead of supporting a new country in Asia, when we stop giving money to Vietnam, we want to re-direct that money to Africa – either to a new country or to an already existing recipient,” Troels Lund Poulsen states to Berlingske Tidende.
     These suggestions have already been met by criticism, since Vietnam is seen by some – including Danida itself – as one of the countries where Danish aid is being put to the most effective use – as opposed to many African nations like for instance Kenya, where corruption is so widespread that Denmark has not yet been able to develop a national strategy on how to best spend the aid funds there. Several other large and “needy” nations such as the Democratic Republic of Congo or Ethiopia, however, are currently not receiving much financial help from Danida, even though these populous nations would be able to absorb great amounts of financial aid.
     Venstre’s suggestions will as a minimum need backing from the Conservative Party as well as Dansk Folkeparti in order to be realized.

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