The government of Denmark is viewing migrants from the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) countries as a resource that could play a vital role in increasing Danish exports to their home countries. Several initiatives have been taken, including the formation of special funds to provide financial assistance to companies that aim at increasing trade with MENA, as well as providing jobs to migrants from the region and encouraging them to get involved in trade promotion.

“To this particular end the Danish government has adapted a strategy of integrating exactly this resource – immigrants – into practical work for enhancing exports. I find this initiative very exciting,” says Denmark’s Minister for Trade and European Affairs Nick Haekkerup.

The number of migrants in Denmark from the region went up by just over three per cent in 2013 to 29,012 from 28,144 in 2012 mainly because of higher influx of people from Syria and Iran (see table).

Number of migrants from MENA in Denmark 2008-2013

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Iraq

14,282

13,678

12,930

12,765

11,986

11.535

Iran

4,135

4,102

4,200

4,556

4,879

5,232

Lebanon

3,448

3,387

3,396

3,433

3,373

3,382

Syria

844

913

1,077

1,478

2,086

3,016

Morocco

2,319

2,312

2,324

2,379

2,400

2,389

Egypt

540

563

581

595

637

678

Kuwait

698

673

651

661

628

621

Israel

640

649

649

661

645

620

Jordan

489

475

491

500

505

515

Tunisia

401

397

415

435

426

434

Algeria

353

346

344

353

349

345

Libya

82

84

84

86

87

97

Saudi Arabia

44

44

48

53

50

53

Yemen

42

39

40

41

43

46

UAE

27

30

30

27

32

31

Bahrain

8

9

10

10

9

9

Qatar

6

6

6

8

6

7

Oman

2

2

1

3

3

2

MENA

28,360

27,709

27,277

28,044

28,144

29,012

SOURCE: Statistics Denmark