Unprecedented data trove maps China's growing global reach and self-interest of its aid
China and U.S. 'neck and neck' in foreign assistance spending
Ayed, Nahlah; Wolfe-Wylie, William http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/china-investment-u-s-1.4348001
Date Written: 11/10/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
The new data on more than 4,300 projects of China in 150 countries indicate those contributions -- if not the means -- have in total, almost matched those of the world's largest foreign aid donor, the United States.
Spends money to make money
What's starkly different is how they spend it.
The U.S., like most Western donors, including Canada, puts most of its contribution into foreign aid in the strictest sense -- called Official Development Assistance (ODA) -- which is aimed at developing nations and includes at least a quarter in grants.
This type of foreign data, AidData finds, spur more economic growth. China has spent less than one quarter of its funds on projects that meet that strict definition.
The data suggest most of its contributions have instead been focused on projects that are more commercially oriented and involve loans at market prices -- ultimately, to make money. That has effectively made China the world's largest individual country creditor, says Parks.
'Clearly about China's self-interest'
The projects tend to focus on sectors like infrastructure, energy, mining and transport.
"Those funds tend to go to China's trading partners, to countries that are rich in natural resources, and to countries that generally are credit-worthy and capable of repaying loans," said Parks. Those have included Iran, Pakistan, Russia and Venezuela.