Danish International Development Agency

Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), is the brand which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, uses when it provides humanitarian aid and development assistance to other countries, with focus on developing countries. There is no distinct Danida organisation within the Ministry.

Origin of name

The organisation’s name was originally DANAID. In Greek mythology, the Danaids were daughters of Danaus who killed their husbands and were condemned to fill a bathtub with water to wash away their sins. Because the buckets they were given to do this were actually sieves, they worked for all eternity in Tartarus without making any progress. For this reason, the aid agency’s name was changed from DANAID to DANIDA at the last minute when this unfortunate connotation was discovered. The term Danida appeared in 1963.


Denmark has been granting development assistance since the end of the Second World War. It is one of the five countries in the world that meets the United Nation‘s target of granting 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) in development assistance. In 2011 Denmark disbursed roughly DKK:15.753 billion (US$2.98 billion) in development assistance to countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Denmark’s European Union neighbors. In 2009, DANIDA worked in close association with the Indian Government’s Padmasree award winner, K.Viswanathan, and the prestigious institution Mitraniketan. Furthermore, DANIDA works in collaboration with many Danish NGOs such as Global Medical Aid.[4]

Focus areas

DANIDA focusses on these four areas of interest:

As of 2015, DANIDA is involved in a total of 73 countries and regions across the world, with 21 countries of high priority. Most of the priority countries are among the poorest of the world, located in Africa and Asia.

The sectors receiving the largest amount of financial bilateral support is government and civil society, and humanitarian aid, at roughly 28% and 14% respectively.

Most of the goals of DANIDA’s projects gets fulfilled, with an annual succes rate between 79 % and 88 % since 2005.


Danish development assistance in the 1950s was nearly exclusively channeled through the United Nations. In 1962 Denmark established its first bilateral development assistance programme for developing countries under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2010 about 40% of Denmark’s bilateral assistance went to social sectors, including education and health. Danida also works in collaboration with the United Nations, the World Bank, regional development banks and theEuropean Union.

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