Financial Times — China's aid splurge fails to bridge credibility gap in Africa
In "China's aid splurge fails to bridge credibility gap in Africa", the Financial Times' Shawn Donnan discusses where Chinese development assistance actors ranked in comparison to "traditional" donors in AidData's "Listening to Leaders: Which Development Partners Do They Prefer and Why?" report. The story draws upon AidData's tracking of Chinese development finance activity in Africa. AidData's Executive Director, Brad Parks, was interviewed on background and is quoted in the story.
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.