In the three years (2010-2012) since the last report, China provided (committed? disbursed?) $14.41 bn in official development assistance (ODA), or an average of $4.8 bn per year:
- 7.26 billion yuan ($1.17 bn) of interest-free loans
- 32.32 billion yuan ($5.21 bn) of grants
- 49.76 billion yuan ($8.03 bn) in concessional loans (you hui dai kuan)
According to the paper, 51.8 percent of Chinese aid goes to Africa. This means an average of $2.5 billion per year between 2009 and 2012.
China is also still providing debt relief in Africa. Nine countries: Tanzania, Zambia, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Togo, Benin, Cote d'Ivoire and Sudan, had 16 mature interest-free loans cancelled, for a total of 1.42 billion yuan ($229 mn). This continues the practice begun more than a decade ago of loan cancellation only for the interest-free loans. Countries thinking they might have their concessional loans cancelled need to think again: concessional loans have never been included in the loan forgiveness program.
The "Chinese Peace Corps" is still alive, with some 7000 volunteers sent abroad over the past three years. Why do we hear almost nothing about this program? Has anyone run across a volunteer in Africa?
Another interesting development: China is providing some assistance to Burkina Faso, a country that recognizes Taiwan. This is done as part of a WTO-related program, where Benin, Mali, Chad and Burkina Faso -- the Cotton-4 countries -- receive cotton seeds, farm machinery and fertilizers, technology transfer and training, and support for other aspects of their cotton value chain. Cotton is probably the top agricutural export from Africa to China, so this clearly shows economics trumping politics.
For official figures on foreign aid expenditures since 2000, click <here>
A hat tip to Winslow Robertson who was even faster than my google alert to pick up news of the White Paper!