Published October 12, 2017

China May Dethrone US As World's Biggest Foreign Aid Donor

By Ben Cost

Seeing how the "made in China" and "extreme poverty" stereotypes no longer really hold water in light of the Middle Kingdom's myriad technological milestones and its rescue of hundreds of millions from poverty, Western media often resorts to attacking China on moral grounds -- ie. human rights violations, the greed of its super wealthy. It's like that kid who you used to pick on until they grew as big as you, so you decide to paint them as the bully. This might not be the case for much longer.


Trump's slashing of foreign aid might pave the way for China to become the biggest donor in the developed world. According to SCMP, "Between 2000 and 2014, China gave almost US$354.4 billion in aid and other forms of support to 140 countries, according to research published on Wednesday by AidData, a US-based project that tracks flows of development assistance. The US spent a corresponding US$394.6 billion in the same period."


"If the US follows through on its rhetoric and scales back its global footprint, China may be well-positioned to step into the breach and cement its role as a preferred donor and lender to the developing world," said Samantha Custer, director of policy analysis at AidData. Then again, it's not about the size of the 'donor' but how you use it. 


Experts argue caveat is that while the US' aid's main aim is to develop infrastructure of the recipients, Chinese aid is primarily focused on bolstering its own commercial interests overseas in what many have called a form of neocolonialism. However, others argue that the US' aid packages are more imperialistic as they charge "ideological interest" via revamping the political system in their image rather than just engaging in commerce -- which has its pros and cons. 


There also is the question of the lack of transparency on the composition of China's aid packages, most of which go to these nations. Regardless, the end result is the same with "Chinese-funded projects resulting in an average increase of 0.7 per cent in the GDP growth of the recipient country two years after the deal was signed." 


Related:  Chinese To Build Tallest Skyscraper In Africa