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

  • Austin Strange
  • Bradley Parks
  • Michael J. Tierney
  • Andreas Fuchs
  • Axel Dreher
  • Vijaya Ramachandran

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 the College of William and Mary, has compiled a database of thousands of media reports on Chinese-backed projects in Africa from 2000 to 2011. The database includes information on 1,673 projects in 51 African countries and on $75 billion in commitments of official finance. This paper describes the new database methodology, key findings, and possible applications of the data, which is being made publicly available for the first time. The paper and database offer a new tool set for researchers, policymakers, journalists, and civil-society organizations working to understand China’s growing role in Africa. The paper also discusses the challenges of quantifying Chinese development activities, introduces AidData’s Media-Based Data Collection (MBDC) methodology, provides an overview of Chinese development finance in Africa as tracked by this new database, and discusses the potential and limitations of MBDC as a resource for tracking development finance. This working paper accompanies the release of AidData’s Chinese Official Finance to Africa Dataset, Version 1.0, available for download at http://china.aiddata.org/datasets/1.0, and a live, interactive database platform (at http://china.aiddata.org). AidData’s MBDC methodology is also available for download at http://china.aiddata.org/MBDC_codebook.

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File URL: http://www.cgdev.org/sites/default/files/chinese-development-finance-africa_0.pdf
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Paper provided by Center for Global Development in its series Working Papers with number 323.

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Length: 68 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:323
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.cgdev.org

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  1. Axel Dreher & Peter Nunnenkamp & Rainer Thiele, 2010. "Are ‘New’ Donors Different? Comparing the Allocation of Bilateral Aid between Non-DAC and DAC Donor Countries," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 25, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  2. Axel Dreher & Andreas Fuchs, 2011. "Rogue Aid? The Determinants of China's Aid Allocation," CESifo Working Paper Series 3581, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Giles Mohan, 2008. "China in Africa: A Review Essay," Review of African Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(115), pages 155-173, March.
  4. Yin‐Wong Cheung & Jakob de Haan & Xingwang Qian & Shu Yu, 2012. "China's Outward Direct Investment in Africa," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 201-220, 05.
  5. Nkunde Mwase, 2011. "Determinants of Development Financing Flows From Brazil, Russia, India, and China to Low-Income Countries," IMF Working Papers 11/255, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Yongzheng Yang & Nkunde Mwase, 2012. "BRICs’ Philosophies for Development Financing and their Implications for LICs," IMF Working Papers 12/74, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Mona Lyne & Daniel Nielson & Michael Tierney, 2009. "Controlling coalitions: Social lending at the multilateral development banks," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 407-433, December.
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