If you are interested in learning more about the China in Africa project, we would be happy to provide you with some background information. For press inquiries contact with your name, contact information, and inquiry.

Stay connected with AidData

AidData is committed to making international development finance data more accessible and actionable. Want to stay updated? Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @AidData, and subscribe to our blog, the First Tranche.

In The News

The birthplaces of African leaders receive an awful lot of aid

IN 2010 Yang Jiechi, then China’s foreign minister, visited Yoni, a village in Sierra Leone. Mr Yang had a job to do: hand over a fancy new school, financed by Chinese aid, to the local authorities. Sierra Leone certainly needed more schools, but some wondered why the Chinese chose the middle of the bush for the project.


DevExplains: Chinese aid

Separate efforts have been made to track Chinese assistance to countries. AidData is one of the most prominent, and it has tried to separate Chinese aid to Africa that qualifies as ODA as per the definition set by the DAC, and other financial flows. AidData will be coming out with a new dataset that specifies Chinese assistance globally — not just in Africa — in early October, Devex was told.


Colin Powell: American Leadership — We Can’t Do It for Free

At our best, being a great nation has always meant a commitment to building a better, safer world — not just for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren. This has meant leading the world in advancing the cause of peace, responding when disease and disaster strike, lifting millions out of poverty and inspiring those yearning for freedom.

This calling is under threat.


China is on a mission to modernize African farming—and find new markets for its own companies

Here, at the China-Rwanda ATDC, Chinese agronomists teach local farmers the hidden benefits of mushrooms. They grow quickly, even in bad soil, and don’t take a lot of room. They pack in protein and other nutrients. At the end of five days of training, the students take a cooking class where they learn how to make things like liangban mu-er,a salad of “tree ear” mushroom paired with carrots and cucumber, or how to stew mushrooms in tea.


Chinese aid is helping African economies, but not in the places that need it most

Western donors and lenders are generally skeptical about China’s efforts to assume a leadership role in providing global infrastructure, and point to the benefits international competitive bidding rules and environmental and social safeguards provide to ensure responsible and sustainable implementation of infrastructure projects. And U.S. leaders, including President Obama and Hillary Clinton, have warned African counterparts that China may be motivated not by a desire to improve the lives of ordinary Africans but more by a desire to gain access to the continent’s natural resources. But many African leaders insist that China is a more reliable and efficient partner. In a new AidData working paper, we put these claims to the test.


Asia’s scramble for Africa

Both Japan and China back up diplomatic efforts with aid and, at least in China’s case, this seems to have helped win it friends. Countries that vote with China in the UN (for instance over Taiwan) usually get more cash from it, according to AidData, a project based at the College of William and Mary in Virginia.


A despot’s guide to foreign aid

PITY the UN ambassador of a small African country each time a vote is called in the General Assembly. Many of the resolutions will be ones that their president and most of their compatriots neither know nor care about. Take Resolution 70, adopted just before Christmas and new year when the world’s mind is on how it will recover from one hangover while bracing for the next. The UN resolved, among other things, to hold a symposium on basic space technology in South Africa and a workshop on “human space technology” in Costa Rica. It passed easily.


Diplomacy and aid in Africa

THE United Nations General Assembly is one of the few great levellers in life. In it a tiny country such as Comoros, with a population of less than a million people and a land mass smaller than that of Rhode Island (America’s smallest state) has the same voting power as India, with a population over a thousand times larger. Little wonder then that the great powers spend so much time courting the minnows, and showering them with aid, to keep them on side when resolutions come up before the UN.


La Chinafrique à l’épreuve du big data

Une équipe de chercheurs d’une université américaine explore les chiffres qui se cachent derrière la Chinafrique. Un travail de collecte de données à grande échelle allié à une méthodologie de triangulation et de géolocalisation permettant de dresser une carte très précise et objective de ce que fait la Chine en Afrique« Nous suivons quatre-vingt dix donneurs internationaux depuis douze ans et les données sont libres d’accès sur notre site internet, précise Alexander Wooley, responsable de la communication du site. Nous avons décidé il y a quatre ans de nous intéresser en particuliers aux investissements chinois en Afrique car il y a beaucoup de mythes et d’idées reçues sur le sujet. L’Afrique reçoit plus de la moitié des fonds chinois pour le développement chaque année, mais on ne sait pas toujours avec certitude où va cet argent car Pékin ne fournit aucun rapport aux instances internationales et ne suit pas les recommandations de l’OCDE. »


Debunking the Myths of Chinese Investment in Africa

China’s overseas investment has long worried Western observers. From the constant updates on the soon-to-be operational Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), to the rather more nebulous One Belt One Road initiative, China’s trade and economic influence is spreading on multiple fronts. This has fed into broader anxieties in the West, who feel that important allies and opportunities are slipping into the orbit of a regime that does not play by Western rules. Chinese investment in Africa is perhaps one of the most pertinent examples of these fears.


Why African leaders like Chinese aid

China provides a substantial amount of aid to African nations, but its motives are often questioned. Roland Hodler, Professor of Economics at the University of St Gallen, Switzerland, has tested these claims

Western media and Western donors are often critical to the role that China plays in Africa. China is said to use its foreign aid to curry favor with political leaders in order to get access to natural resources, and to undercut political, social and environmental conditions of Western donors.


10 Essential Facts About Chinese Aid in Africa

The global development landscape is currently in a period of tumult. A number of developing countries that were once aid recipients are now aid donors, and they represent a growing proportion of the total money spent on international development. China is by far the largest emerging competitor in the global aid market, and its unique way of designing and delivering assistance is challenging the traditional policies and practices of Western powers.

More and more money is sloshing around, as well as more players. China now has a robust bilateral aid program, but it’s also helped create alternative sources of multilateral funding for developing countries—namely, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the New Development Bank.


Casting light on the misconceptions of China's growing aid to Africa

The international development finance landscape is changing — not just in the emergence of new donors with new money, but in the way they do things. And China, one of the world’s most significant emerging donors, is at the forefront of this change.

For the past two years alone, Asia’s economic behemoth has been setting up economic and development institutions left and right, including the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the BRICS’ New Development Bank headquartered in Shanghai, and the “One Belt, One Road” initiative. And all this in addition to the country’s growing financial flows and assistance to other regions of the world over the past decade or so.


Lo scenario Africa made in China: attenta ai più poveri, non ai dittatori

Tutto quello che abbiamo sempre saputo sulla politica degli aiuti della Cina in Africa è falso: lo dice un nuovo report di AidData, che rivela aspetti poco conosciuti dei progetti di cooperazione finanziati da Pechino

Gli aiuti allo sviluppo della Cina all’Africa non favoriscono i regimi autoritari o corrotti, come i governi d’Occidente hanno sempre sostenuto. Lo rivela uno studio pubblicato da AidData dal titolo Apples and Dragon Fruits: The Determinants of Aid and Other Forms of State Financing from China to Africa, insieme a un database che traccia più di 94 miliardi di dollari di fondi cinesi a cinquanta paesi africani tra il 2000 e il 2013. Secondo i ricercatori del College of William & Mary, della Heidelberg University e di Harvard, quindi, tutto quello che abbiamo sempre saputo sulla politica degli aiuti della Cina in Africa è falso.


Many in the West fear Chinese ‘aid’ to Africa. They’re wrong. Here’s why.

Western pundits have a narrative about China’s activities in Africa. It usually goes something like this: China now provides as much, if not more, aid to Africa as the United States. Much of this aid goes to corrupt and authoritarian regimes. Beijing’s main goal is to buy the loyalty of Africa’s governing elites and secure access to the continent’s rich natural resources.


China Is Not a Rogue Donor

In 2007, Moisés Naím, the editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy magazine, coined the term “rogue aid” to describe Chinese development money to Africa. And ever since, China’s reputation as a malevolent donor—one that props up autocratic regimes in return for access to natural resources—has stuck. As evidence, proponents of this theory cite China’s spending in Africa. It enticed Nigeria, for example, out of accepting World Bank aid by offering less concessional funds instead. But a newly released paper, “Apples and Dragon Fruits,” refutes that claim. A diverse team of scholars led by Axel Dreher parsed  data gathered by AidData, a research lab at the College of William & Mary that uses innovative methods to track development funding, and found that China isn’t actually a rogue donor. In fact, it doesn’t behave much differently than Western countries when it comes to aid.


What crisis? 16 of China's biggest projects in Africa — it's all billion dollar territory in here

EARLIER this year, Chinese state news agency Xinhua published that the country has so far in Africa completed some 1,046 projects, built railways to a total of 2,233 kilometres, and laid 3,350 km of highways. According to the largest public database of Chinese development finance in Africa, researchers claim that there are currently 3,030 active projects in Africa. China is clearly racing to deliver on commitments made in 2012, when then-president Hu Jintao offered $20 billion in loans to African countries, doubling its previous pledge. 


From East to East

Questions are multiplying about the costs and sustainability of China’s loans for the region's grand projects.


Project pressure: World Bank defends standards

When people reach the ripe old age of 70 they can rightfully expect to receive some presents from their nearest and dearest. Yet when the World Bank became a septuagenarian last year it could only watch on, downcast, as some of its most important member countries rushed to offer contributions to the newly-minted Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

By the time its founding members had signed the articles of agreement in June this year, World Bank president Jim Yong Kim graciously hailed the launch of the AIIB, which he said would deliver more infrastructure to help the poor.


Malawi under the spell of China

According to which tracks down Chinese investment in Africa, between 2009 and 2012, for Malawi alone, China had implemented up to 30 projects in education, water supply, energy, infrastructure development, agriculture, government and civil society, transport, sports, women in development, communications and trade and tourism, among many others.


Africa’s elite exploit Chinese development aid, study reveals

A recent study shows China’s development aid for Africa flows primarily to the birth regions of leading African politicians, while geopolitical interests only play a secondary role for Beijing. EurActiv Germany reports.

China’s growing importance for Africa is under increasing scrutiny from politicians in the West. This led an international research team, with members from the University of Heidelberg, to focus on Chinese development aid.

The results show Chinese development aid for Africa goes predominantly to home regions of leading African politicians. This also applied when there was greater need for aid in another part of the same country, the authors write.


Studie: China hilft Afrikas Eliten. Welt-Sichten

Afrikanische Politiker verwenden chinesische Entwicklungshilfe vor allem für Projekte in ihren Heimatregionen. Das gelte auch, wenn in anderen Gegenden ein größerer Bedarf herrscht, heißt es in einer neuen Studie.

Ein Beispiel: In Yoni, dem Heimatort von Sierra Leones Präsident Ernest Bai Koroma, sei „mitten im Busch“ mit chinesischem Geld eine gut ausgestattete Schule errichtet worden. Ein internationales Wissenschaftlerteam hat rund 2000 solcher Entwicklungshilfeprojekte an mehr als 3.500 Orten in Afrika im Zeitraum zwischen 2010 und 2012 untersucht. Die Forscher haben außerdem Daten zu Geburtsort und Ethnie von 117 führenden afrikanischen Politikern zusammengetragen.


A closer look at the risks and opportunities of China's aid to Africa

The debate over China’s oft-misunderstood approach to aid and development has almost always focused on the motives of the East Asian country, as the donor, and never those of the governments and leaders that receive the assistance.

How important is it to see the other side of the story — why governments accept the assistance — and how will it affect the effectiveness of the development programs that the Asian behemoth is funding seemingly at will?


Tracking Chinese Aid to Africa

Is a fancy new school in an African GOVERNMENT official's hometown a coincidence, or evidence of systematic favouritism in the distribution of aid?

Quite possibly the latter, say researchers who have analysed how Chinese aid funds are distributed in Africa, testing the hypothesis that CHINA'S approach to aid makes it particularly vulnerable to such abuse.






The good, bad side of Beijing’s billions in Tanzania

When the World Bank and the International Monetary dilly-dallied upon being approached to finance the $1.3 billion Mtwara-Dar es Salaam 524km gas pipeline, which Tanzania dearly needed to boost  electricity production and end the country’s non-ending power shortage, China came calling with a juicy and tempting offer—and government quickly took it up.


Africa: China's Foreign Aid - How Big Is It and What Is Its Aim?

China has greatly increased its foreign aid to developing countries in the recent years. On one hand China hopes to promote bilateral relations with recipient countries to enhance economic and trade cooperation; on the other the fast rising nation is shouldering its international responsibilities and promoting poverty reduction.


Is the time ripe for China's own aid agency?

While Asia’s economic juggernaut is steadily becoming one the world’s fastest-rising emerging donors — with more than $6.4 billion in annual official development assistance, half of which goes to Africa — most observers remain clueless on how Beijing disburses these funds, what the country’s ODA policy really is, and how it views “development assistance” in terms of addressing the world’s humanitarian needs over its own commercial and economic interests.


China's 'misunderstood' aid approach to Africa

Details of Chinese aid to Africa have always been lacking in detail, sparking endless debates about Beijing’s true goals and if Africa will benefit at all. We learn from several leading experts why this has led to confusion within the development community.


China’s investment in Tanzania surges

China’s total direct investment in Tanzania soared from $700 million in 2011 to $2.1 billion last year, turning the world’s second biggest economy into the biggest foreign investor in the east African country, it has emerged.


China’s scramble for African minerals

It is undeniable: China’s presence in Africa is growing. Asia’s largest nation has been systematically cultivating enormous influence across the resource-rich continent. If the trend continues, China could sideline European and American investors entirely, experts warn.


Investment, not aid, is giving China an edge in Africa

China has committed billions of dollars in repayable, long-term development finance (not aid) for Africa over the past decade as it seeks to secure its political and economic clout there. While these multibillion-dollar loans are almost always tied to management of the project by a Chinese company (often a large state-owned company) and sometimes include a significant percentage of Chinese labor, China has nevertheless filled a void left by the West and is now reaping enormous praise from African governments.


Road builder Sata enthuses Zambians but unnerves foreign investors

President Michael Sata's drive to upgrade the country's rough roads, which often become impassable in the rainy season, is popular with many Zambians like Moyo. But foreign investors, who must partly fund such ambitious schemes, are less keen on his costly promises and very public dust-ups with business.


China’s lending to Kenya hits $750m

China has overtaken France as the second largest lender to Kenya after Japan, reflecting Beijing’s increasing importance as a source of development funds for the country. Data from the Central Bank of Kenya shows that Kenya’s debt to Beijing rose by 50 per cent to about $750 million in the year ended June 2013, compared with $500 million in fiscal year 2011-2012.


China drops anchor in Tanzania

The Chinese presence in the Tanzanian economy is growing rapidly as the eastern giant intensifies its quest for natural resources and a gateway to other African states.


Untangling China's aid to Africa

Quantifying the China-Africa relationship is a difficult undertaking because China does not break down its statistics or release detailed reports about how much assistance it gives to Africa, and it has a different definition from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) of what exactly is meant by 'aid'.


Increased 'Chinalisation' of Uganda Could Boomerang

Economic ties between China and Africa have grown steadily over the years, as reflected in trends of aid to and trade with Africa in recent years. For instance, by last year, trade between Africa and China stood at $200bn compared to $9bn in 2000 China and Uganda diplomatic relations date back to 1962, when Uganda got its independence.


The worrying link between aid and growth in Africa

Africa's robust economic growth over the past decade has raised hopes the poorest continent can reduce reliance on aid. The problem with this scenario is its failure to consider the role aid may be playing in the 'Africa Rising' narrative. Looking for a link between aid and growth, an unmistakable pattern emerges from the numbers.


Africa's growth story

Africa's robust economic growth over the past decade has raised hopes the world's poorest continent can reduce reliance on aid.


Report speaks about advantages of China's aid to Africa

When Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian-born economist, wrote in her book Dead Aid that traditional aid from Western donors had largely failed African countries, fostering dependency, encouraging corruption and perpetuating poor governance and poverty, she said China provided another approach and gave Africans the ability to choose their own way to develop. But how large and how effective is Chinese aid to Africa?





How Big is Chinese Aid to Africa?

How much aid does China give Africa? Does it complement or undermine the aid from the United States and other Western donors? China releases little information and outside estimates vary widely. A novel approach to studying Chinese aid flows that relies on a database of media reports may offer fresh insights.


Focus: Development finance in Africa

NOT long ago, the lion’s share of official aid to poor countries was provided by rich Western governments that carefully report what they give and to whom. But recent years have seen a rapid increase in aid from non-Western sources that do not always prioritise transparency. A new working paper from the Centre for Global Development (CGD) attempts to gauge aid flows to Africa from China, one of the more opaque givers. In the absence of comprehensive official figures, the CGD compiled a database using open-source media reports. It says that China committed $75 billion in aid between 2000 and 2011, almost as much as America ($90 billion) and nearly a fifth of the total flows reported by Western governments. Two of the largest identifiable categories, by value, were transport and energy, which could fuel suspicions that China's provision of aid is aimed at securing natural resources. But the counter-argument holds that Chinese aid, which focuses on overlooked areas like infrastructure, rather than education or health, is actually complementary to the West’s.


China can do more for Africa

How should Africa’s political elite respond to China’s escalation of its ‘soft power charm offensive’, which is widely thought to be intended to secure future clout on the continent?


中国“一掷千金”对非洲展开攻势 被指过分慷慨



Chinese aid to Africa: A detective story

Earlier this week a massive database of Chinese development finance activities in Africa (warning: big PDF) was launched by AidData and the Center for Global Development.

This endeavour involved a team of researchers and has taken more than 18 months, and sought to find and classify all instances of Chinese development finance to Africa from 2001 to 2011. Anyone who has attempted to quantifyChinese aid would know this is no mean feat. Despite recent efforts on the part of the Chinese Government to release more information about its foreign aid program, details at a project, sector or indeed country level remain difficult to determine. This database thus potentially offers a valuable resource.


Uncover African "charm offensive" mystery

Although the "development aid" is a positive word, but the Chinese government has been unwilling to disclose specific figures on the implementation of aid for Africa. Now, in English and American scholars try to use the media to disclose information to China in Africa "charm offensive" to outline the contours.


Open China Data is a Disruptive Gateway Drug

On Monday, AidData released the largest Open Data cache of Chinese development finance in Africa. The Chinese Development Finance in Africa database contains nearly 1,700 official finance projects in 50 African countries, totaling over $70 billion in reported financial commitments. A stunning achievement considering that China does not regularly participate in existing information reporting systems, such as the OECD's Creditor Reporting System, the International Aid Transparency Initiative, and country-specific Aid Management Platforms.








China commits billions in aid in Africa

China has committed $75 billion to aid and development projects in Africa over the past decade, according to research that reveals the scale of what some have called Beijing’s escalating soft-power “charm offensive” to secure political and economic clout on the continent.

The Chinese government releases very little information on its foreign aid activities, which remain state secrets. In one of the most ambitious attempts to date to chip away at this secrecy, U.S. researchers have launched the largest public database of Chinese development finance in Africa, detailing nearly 1,700 projects in 50 countries between 2000 and 2011.


Chinese gives Kenya $1.4bn aid in decade

China provided Kenya with $1.4 billion aid in the 2001-2011 period, says a new report by US researchers.

Road building and other transport projects accounted for nearly half of China’s assistance, according to the study compiled by AidData, a research partnership involving two US universities and a non-governmental organisation.


中国的发展合作的独到之处 -NAI Forum, 2013年第5期




China trails US in Africa trade

A study has revealed that China has committed more than $75 billion to Africa in the past decade, at a very close second to the United States.

The database which was released on Monday by the Center for Global Development aims to be the most comprehensive account yet of foreign assistance by China, which has faced criticism in Western countries suspicious of Beijing's motives.


Roads and energy main beneficiaries of Chinese aid to Kenya, report

China provided Kenya with a total of $1.4 billion in aid during the 2001-2011 period, according to a report issued on Monday by US-based researchers.

Road-building and other transport projects accounted for nearly half of China's assistance to Kenya during those years, says the study compiled by AidData, a research partnership involving two US universities and a nongovernmental organisation.


6 Surprising facts about Chinese aid to Africa

It’s undeniable. China has a huge presence in Africa. Many Africans can point out Chinese-funded buildings, roads and mines, and it’s not uncommon to see more than a few Chinese faces around construction projects and efforts across the development sector. As the country moves toward the up and up both economically and as a world superpower, so will its aid to the continent.


L'aide chinoise au développement décryptée

D'après une enquête menée sur la période 2000-2011, la Chine a versé plus de 75 milliards de dollars d'aide à l'Afrique, soit presque l’équivalent de l’aide consentie par les États-Unis sur la même période. Cette initiative d'une université américaine vie


China ranks second to US in money to Africa

China committed more than US$75 billion to Africa in the past decade, coming close to the level of US money although the nature of Beijing’s support was far different, a study said on Monday.

The database released by the Center for Global Development aims to be the most comprehensive account yet of foreign assistance by China, which has faced criticism in Western countries suspicious of Beijing’s motives.


China’s Development Finance to Africa: A Media-Based Approach to Data Collection

How big is China’s aid to Africa? Does it complement or undermine the efforts of traditional donors? China releases little information and outside estimates of the size and nature of Chinese aid vary widely. In an effort to overcome this problem, AidData, based at William and Mary College in Virginia, has compiled a database of thousands of media reports on Chinese-backed projects in Africa from 2000-2011.


Chart of the week: tracking China’s investments in Africa

Much has been written about China in Africa – a relationship that has been described as neo-colonial as China’s appetite for African resources has boomed and China has embarked on landmark projects such as the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa (pictured left).

But quantifying the China-in-Africa story has been hard. There are official projects, aid donations, gifts, credit lines and more. Adding all that up is tricky – but a new database from AidData shows just how vast and sprawling Chinese investment in Africa has become. Chart of the week has run the numbers.