African Leaders and China's Foreign Assistance

Aid Data published in November 2014 a study titled "Aid on Demand: African Leaders and the Geography of China's Foreign Assistance"by Axel Dreher, Andreas Fuchs, Roland Hodler, Bradley Parks, Paul Raschky, and Michael Tierney. The study investigates whether political leaders of aid-receiving African countries use foreign aid to further their own political or personal interests

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Abstract

Abstract

Chinese “aid” is a lightning rod for criticism. Policy-makers, journalists, and public intellectuals claim that Beijing uses its largesse to cement alliances with political leaders, secure access to natural resources, and create exclusive commercial opportunities for Chinese firms—all at the expense of citizens living in developing countries. We argue that much of the controversy about Chinese “aid” stems from a failure to distinguish between China's Official Development Assistance (ODA) and more commercially oriented sources and types of state financing. Using a new database on China's official financing commitments to Africa from 2000 to 2013, we find that the allocation of Chinese ODA is driven primarily by foreign policy considerations, while economic interests better explain the distribution of less concessional flows. These results highlight the need for better measures of an increasingly diverse set of non-Western financial activities.

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