In the face of the increasing aid from China, South Korea, Brazil, Venezuela, India or the Arab states, among others, to developing countries, the international aid regime is undergoing vital reforms, aiming at increasing aid effectiveness and achieving implementation. The way how these (re)emerging donors provide their development assistance significantly differs from, and remains outside the framework of established international structures.
At the head of this group of emerging donors is the People’s Republic of China, combining loans, credits and debt write-offs with special trade arrangements and commercial investments.
This paper first gives a brief overview of the evolution of China’s foreign aid policy with a particular emphasis on the spectrum of motivations, principles and objectives that have driven the country’s engagement in development assistance since the formation of the PRC in 1949. It shall then go on to critically review the most commonly argued differences between China’s approach and that of the DAC donor countries, and discuss the perception of the former in the West and Africa. Finally, the last section analyses the relationship of the PRC’s foreign aid strategy with the orthodox model of delivering development assistance. Although China has pursued foreign aid-related activities in several regions (e.g. Latin America and Central Asia), the scope of this paper is confined to Africa being the main target region for ‘traditional’ donors’ as well as for China.
Balazs Ujvari is pursuing an MA degree in International Studies at Aarhus University. His research field is focused on global governance and comparative regional integration studies.