China's Aid Approach in Africa Evolving, Minister Says

Chen Deming, minister of commerce of the People's Republic of China. Photo by: UNDP / CC BY UNDPCC BY

China’s aid policies in Africa are evolving as the country gains more experience in the international development scene, a senior Chinese official said.

Boosting aid, offering debt forgiveness and implementing zero tariffs on imports from developing countries are key to China’s pledge at the recently concluded U.N. summit on Millennium Development Goals in New York, said Chen Deming, China’s commerce minister, according to Reuters.

Chen also defended China’s development and aid policy in Africa from criticisms that it does not create local jobs and overlooks human rights abuses.

“Some friends from Western countries ask me why China continues to give foreign assistance to some countries with bad human rights records or problematic political regimes. I tell them that the social and cultural systems are different and the development path and political regimes are diversified and there is no one single way,” Chen told Reuters.

He maintained that China does not attach political conditions to its aid and does not interfere with the internal affairs of countries receiving Chinese funding.

Chen added that China attempts to minimize corruption in the flow of its aid money by engaging in specific projects instead of providing aid in cash. He also said the thinking that Chinese projects in Africa does not create local jobs was dated and a result of “misunderstanding.”

“Now we are increasing the employment of local staff,” Chen explained.

About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.