Over half of China’s foreign aid goes to Africa

Chinese project in Senegal - AFP

More than half of China’s foreign aid of over $14 billion between 2010 and 2012 was directed to Africa, the government said on Thursday, underscoring Beijing’s interest in the resource-rich continent to fuel its economy.

It provided no breakdown of aid recipients or any yearly figures. In 2011, China put its total foreign aid over the past six decades at 256.29 billion yuan ($41.32 billion).

China says its aid has no political strings attached, unlike many Western countries.

“China adheres to the principles of not imposing any political conditions, not interfering in the internal affairs of recipient countries and fully respecting the right to independently choose their own paths and models of development,” the government said in a policy paper.

Aid was given in the form of grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, the policy paper said, and nine countries, including Equatorial Guinea, Mali and Zambia had been forgiven a total of 1.24 billion yuan in mature interest-free loans.

Some in Africa say many Chinese projects benefit local people little, with materials and even labor imported directly from China.

China’s close links with oil-rich African states, including Sudan and Angola, have fueled criticism as well that Beijing only cultivates relations to secure access to energy and raw materials to power its surging economy.

The Foreign Ministry, however, said China’s relationship with African nations goes well beyond its quest for resources and encompasses agricultural, health and infrastructure-related projects.

The paper made no direct reference to such criticism, but said China was dedicated to helping economies boost their ability to export by providing infrastructure like roads and railways and by pursuing a policy of aid for trade.

Investment in Ghana

China’s total direct investments in Ghana increased to over $500 million by the end of 2012, an official of the Ghana Embassy in Beijing has stated.

Ghana ranks China first in the number of its registered projects in the country compared with other development partners and sixth in the value of registered investments in 2012.

In 2012, the China Development Bank agreed to provide $3 billion in loans to Ghana, which was almost 10 percent of Ghana’s GDP.

Source: Reuters