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HP03 - Chinese development assistance, the global aid architecture and the new development landscape

Convened by Elling Tjønneland and Lovise Aalen (Chr. Michelsen Institute)

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There is an expanding body of literature analysing China’s new global position and its engagement in international development and the Global South. The scholarly debate on China’s role as provider of development assistance is far less analysed.  China has provided small scale development assistance to other developing countries since the 1950s, mainly through gifts in the form of interest free loans, provision of education and training opportunities in China and deployment of Chinese medical and agricultural teams abroad. Chinese development aid has expanded exponentially over the last 20 years. Its aid volume is now comparable to medium-sized traditional donors in Europe – although very small compared to the size of its economy.

China has expanded its traditional aid mechanisms and instruments, but the most significant development is the heavy use of concessional finance through infrastructure loans from the Chinese Export-Import Bank. While its aid is mainly provided as bilateral support and tied to the purchase of Chinese goods and services, China is also expanding its disbursements through multilateral channels, primarily through the World Bank. In 2018 China established its first aid directorate (CIDCA) – charged with the task of facilitating, coordinating and monitoring Chinese aid.

The panel aims to shed light on the determinants of evolving Chinese aid policies, its impact in developing countries, the relations between traditional Westerns and Chinese aid and how this may shape the changing development landscape. Papers are invited that can present findings from recent or ongoing research on Chinese development assistance. The papers may focus on Chinese determinants, country/project case studies of Chinese aid, Chinese aid through multilateral aid, Chinese responses to new and changing development challenges, relations between traditional and Chinese aid and related issues.