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

As China is taking an increasingly active role on the world stage, its foreign assistance and development programs in other countries in increasing. However, unlike most Western nations, China does not publish this information. This report is particularly interesting because it tries to get an idea of China’s development financing over the last decade through media reports (press releases and newspaper articles).

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 in Virginia, has compiled a database of thousands of media reports on Chinese-backed projects in Africa from 2000-2011. The database includes information on 1,673 projects in 51 African countries, and $75 billion in commitments of official finance.

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