Tuesday 05 Jul 2022 | 07:21 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 05 Jul 2022 | 07:21 | SYDNEY

Asia emerging donors: China (part 2)


Danielle Cave


30 April 2012 11:07

Part 1 of this post, an interview with He Wenping from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on China's growing aid program, appeared last Friday.

4. Are there comparisons that can be drawn between China's and India's aid programs?

The main areas of aid in China's and India's programs are somewhat different. China primarily focuses on basic infrastructure, whereas India focuses more on education (such as long-distance education) and communications. However, the aid models and means of both China and India do also have some similarities (for example, demand-driven bilateral aid without preconditions).  

5. It is well reported that aid donors around the world, particularly OECD-DAC donors, are attempting to engage China as a donor. How do you think these efforts are going? And do you think this is having an impact on China's aid program?

In my opinion, China probably won't enter the OECD-DAC club at the moment or in the near future. Being a member of the OECD-DAC club is neither a necessary condition nor a decisive factor in delivering effective aid. The effectiveness of some OECD-DAC member states' aid programs is not ideal. Longer term, regardless of whether China becomes an OECD-DAC member, dialogue and cooperation between OECD-DAC donors will be very important. 

6. And finally, do you have any advice for Australia as we attempt to understand and engage with China (as a significant provider of foreign aid) in the Asian Century?

Firstly, whether or not this is the 'Asian Century' is still uncertain, although we are in the process of an 'eastern power shift' (including in the area of development aid). Personally, I feel Australia is well positioned both culturally and geographically to act as a bridge between Europe and Asia, and can play an important and unique role in its engagement with China.

My suggestion is Australia should adopt a positive and proactive stance to reflect this unique role. For example, Australia could invite relevant groups to convene discussions and seminars (pursuing a dialogue at both the academic and policy levels), allowing both sides to experience and understand the difference reflected in development aid models from a cultural and historical level. Australia and China could jointly organise research into specific aid projects in recipient countries, analysing the 'development effectiveness' of the projects.