Tuesday 05 Jul 2022 | 08:02 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 05 Jul 2022 | 08:02 | SYDNEY

Asia emerging donors: China (part 1)


Danielle Cave


27 April 2012 14:08

Translation by Dirk van der Kley, an intern in the Lowy Institute's International Security program.

As part of the Lowy Institute's focus on the rise of Asian aid donors we are planning a series of blog posts that will look at how these 'new' emerging donors, namely China and India, are influencing the Asia Pacific and re-shaping the global development picture. And importantly, what does this global shift mean for Australia's role as a growing provider of international development assistance?

To kick off, here's part 1 of an interview with He Wenping from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who we have interviewed before on The Interpreter. Part 2 will follow next week.

1. As China's aid program continues to increase in size and scope, how is China evolving and changing as a donor/development partner?

China is taking an increasingly open stance on external developmental assistance cooperation. The International Poverty Reduction Centre in China (IPRCC) formed a study group with OECD-DAC in 2010 to discuss cooperation related to external development aid. In addition, the Department for International Development (DFID) in the UK and China's Ministry of Agriculture have undertaken joint missions to Africa to observe and identify potential cooperation on agricultural aid projects.

Currently, there is agreement among academics in China that, along with increases in China's foreign aid, China needs to study the lessons and experiences that Western aid donors have accumulated over an extended period. However, due to historical and national differences, China will not completely follow the same route or system that the West has in delivering its aid.

2. At the end of last year in Busan, South Korea, we had largest international meeting of aid officials to date. Donors (traditional and non-traditional) signed the Busan partnership for effective development cooperation. China was one of the signatories to this document – what significance do you think this document holds for China?

One of the main themes of the Busan meeting was the shift from 'aid effectiveness' to 'development effectiveness', with a strong emphasis on promoting development in aid recipient countries. China has extensive experience as an aid recipient, and is now becoming an increasingly important aid donor. Due to this, China is very willing to share its experience of using aid for successful economic development with the international community (in particular aid-recipient countries) and to explore how to make development aid more effectively promote 'development'. 

3. China is well-known for the infrastructure component of its aid program. Beyond this, do you see China moving into/expanding in other sectors such as education, health etc?

In reality, China has been providing health- and education-related development aid for a long time. For example, China has been sending medical teams to countries in Africa since the 1960s (working mostly in remote areas). In terms of human resources (such as education), investment has been increasing since the establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2000, including scholarships and training classes for African students in China. It is certain that investment in the aforementioned areas will continue to increase into the future.