China's 'misunderstood' aid approach to Africa

By Lean Alfred Santos 27 February 2014

A signpost pointing to China and Africa. The Asian country has a growing presence in the continent, but its official development assistance remains poorly understood. Photo by: David Kenny / CC BY-NC-ND

In recent times, China’s unique approach to providing official development assistance — particularly in Africa — has ”provoked strong reactions” from the international aid community.

Despite the countless debates, Chinese aid to Africa remains poorly understood and, to an extent, misunderstood. Although Beijing is generally regarded as Africa’s largest development partner, details of its ODA are sorely lacking, prompting calls for aid transparency and accountability.

This (deliberate) lack of transparency from the Chinese government regarding its aid portfolio in Africa is precisely what has led to misconceptions, according to an expert from a development research and innovation institution.

“[Chinese aid has a] growing presence in Africa and South Asia,” Rebecca Latourell, Aid Data’s policy outreach specialist, told Devex.

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About the author

Lean 2
Lean Alfred Santos@DevexLeanAS

Lean Alfred Santos is a Devex development reporter focusing on the development community in Asia-Pacific, including major players such as the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Prior to joining Devex, he covered Philippine and international business and economic news, sports and politics. Lean is based in Manila.


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