Denmark gives extra 60m kroner to South Sudan

The development minister was in South Sudan over the weekend and announced an immediate increase in Danish support to the famine-threatened country.

Denmark gives extra 60m kroner to South Sudan
Mogens Jensen meets with locals in Sambura. Photo: Claus Bech/Scanpix
During a trip to Juba in South Sudan over the weekend, Development Minister Mogens Jensen announced 60 million kroner ($10.8 million) in additional aid to the war-torn country. 
“I spoke with people in a UN tent that had fled their homes. I met with UN and Danish emergency help organisations and the message was the same: the situation is serious. We need action now. Therefore, we are increasing our support to South Sudan’s suffering people by 60 million kroner,” Jensen said in a press release. 
International NGOs have been warning of the dangers of widespread famine in South Sudan, which has been struggling with ethnic fighting, for months. The UN Security Council in August called the food insecurity situation in South Sudan “the worst in the world”, warning that up to 50,000 children could die from hunger. The situation has been worsened by a cholera epidemic.
According to the Development Ministry, Jensen met with South Sudan’s foreign minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, and “strongly urged” the South Sudanese government to put an end to the violence in the country. The same message was delivered to rebel leader Riek Machar in a telephone conversation.
“I stressed to both of them that there is a need for political action that can stop the violence and thus prevent their own people from dying of hunger,” Jensen said. 
Ten of the 60 million kroner from the Danish government will go to UNICEF, while the remaining 50 million will go to Danish NGOs working in South Sudan and assisting the roughly 500,000 South Sudanese who have fled to neighbouring Kenya, Uganda and Sudan.  

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Denmark offers companies $6bn in coronavirus cash hand-outs

Denmark's finance ministry has announced plans to spend up to 40bn Danish kroner ($6bn) to help companies hit by the coronavirus crisis to cover their fixed costs until cash flow resumes.

Denmark offers companies $6bn in coronavirus cash hand-outs
Nicolai Wammen arrives for the press conference on Wednesday. Photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix
Under the scheme, companies who have seen their revenues decline by 40 percent or more, will receive government grants to help cover between 25 to 80 percent of their fixed costs. 
The self-employed and firms with up to ten people who see their revenues fall more than 30 percent will also be offered government compensation worth 75 percent of their normal monthly income — up to a maximum of 23,000-a-month. 
The two grants will be available for three months, after which the hope is that the economy will be able to return to normal. 
“These are measures that have never been seen before. It is extraordinary,” Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen said as he announced the measures, according to the public broadcaster DR.  “We are not talking about loans. These are cash hand-outs.” 
The two measures come on top of the government's decision to defer as much as 125bn Danish kroner of companies' tax and VAT payments, and its decision to pay between 75 percent and 90 percent of the salaries of employees businesses send home during the crisis. 
It has also released banks' countercyclical capital buffer, freeing up 17bn kroner in potential liquidity. 
The latest measure has been welcomed by business, but has drawn criticism from some economists. 
“It's almost completely crazy that a Danish government can just spend 40bn kroner without any further investigation or much debate,” said Las Olsen, the chief economist at Danske Bank, told Denmark's Jyllands-Posten
“These are completely unheard of steps that the government is now taking,” Helge J. Pedersen, chief economist at Nordea, told the magazine. “This is significantly more than fiscal policy was expanded during the 2008-09 financial crisis.”