Chinese Aid Data WANTED! - AidData's Findings on Chinese Aid to Africa

Along with China's drastic economic development, the focus of its official assistance to Africa has shifted from pure financial assistance to trade and investment. On the other hand, the Chinese government has always been reluctant to expose its foreign aid data to the outside world, which gives rise to negative assumptions based mostly on independent cases and incomplete information.




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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