Aid Fishing in the Yemen: Tracking Saudi Development Assistance to Its Southern Neighbor

Many donors not reporting to the OECD Development Assistance Committee ("non-DAC") lack either the capacity or the political will to publish detailed information about their development cooperation activities. This summer, we helped pilot this methodology by testing its usefulness in tracking Saudi Arabian aid flows to Yemen, which are not published through official channels.

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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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