Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 02:28 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 02:28 | SYDNEY

Our two cents (of aid) for China


Fergus Hanson


19 February 2008 12:57

As Rowan Callick observes in The Australian, we are not giving aid to China to solve its development problems. He is upfront when he states ‘the average income (in China) has doubled in just four years – not of course anything to do with aid’. Australia’s bilateral aid to China is worth about $30 million this year, or two cents per Chinese citizen. Even if you were just targeting the 300 million Chinese living on less than a dollar a day that would still be a mere 10 cents per person per year.

Callick sets out four reasons Australia should continue giving aid to a country that manages to find spare cash for space programs, anti-satellite missiles and over $US1 billion for its own aid to fellow developing countries. I agree with his points, but given the modesty of our program in a country of 1.3 billion, I think you could reduce them to two: to curry favour with the Chinese and to try and get a very modest stool at the table with the hope of influencing and understanding China’s development.