Devex — DevExplains: Chinese aid

Separate efforts have been made to track Chinese assistance to countries. AidData is one of the most prominent and it has tried to separate Chinese aid to Africa that qualifies as ODA as per the definition set by the DAC and other financial flows. AidData will be coming out with a new dataset that specifies Chinese assistance globally - not just in Africa - in early October, Devex was told.




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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