Roads and energy main beneficiaries of Chinese aid to Kenya, report

China provided Kenya with a total of $1.4 billion in aid during the 2001-2011 period, according to a report issued on Monday by US-based researchers. Road-building and other transport projects accounted for nearly half of China's assistance to Kenya during those years, says the study compiled by AidData, a research partnership involving two US universities and a nongovernmental organisation.




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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