The Washington Post

The Washington Post — Sometimes it's not enough to give poor countries lots of foreign aid, study finds

In "Sometimes it's not enough to give poor countries lots of foreign aid, study finds", The Washington Post's Adam Taylor reviews the major findings of AidData's report on "Listening to Leaders: Which Development Partners Do They Prefer and Why?" This report is based on our survey of 6,750 policymakers and practicitioners in 126 countries. Included in the article is a Value-for-Money Index ranking donors' influence on the policy priorities of their developing country counterparts, after accounting for different levels of aid spending. 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.

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