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.