Chinese foreign aid

Foreign aid from China is development assistance provided by the Chinese government to other countries in the form of infrastructure projects given as gifts; concessional loans to fund projects; disaster relief; student scholarships; and other forms of assistance.[1]


The first instance of foreign aid by China to Africa was in 1956 during the Suez Crisis when China gave CHF 20 million to Egypt.[2] From 1970 and 1975, China helped finance and build the TAZARA Railway in East Africa, which remains the country's single-largest foreign aid project.

Administration and budget

The Department of Foreign Aid of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) is responsible for administrating the foreign aid program.[3] It does so in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[3] The portfolio of the Department of Foreign Aid includes grants, zero-interest loans, the youth volunteer program, and technical assistance.[3] The grants and interest free loans originate from the national budget.[3][4] The concessional loan program originates from the Export Import Bank of China but is managed under the direction of the Department of Foreign Aid.[3] In addition, the Department of Foreign Aid provides subsidies from the national budget covers the concessional component of loans.[3]

Chinese foreign aid is thought to be unpopular domestically due to the common belief that the largesse is required more urgently at home.[5] Due to the secrecy of China’s aid programme details (of how much is given, to whom and for what) are difficult to ascertain.[5]

A RAND published study on "China's Foreign Aid and Government Sponsored Investment" estimates the amount of both traditional aid and much more broadly defined government sponsored investment that was pledged by China in 2011 was 189.3 billion US dollars.[4]

According to a 2017 study, described as “The most detailed study so far of Chinese aid,” by AidData, between 2000 and 2014 China gave about $75 billion, and lent about $275 billion — compared to $424 billion given by America during the same period.[5] A fifth of this Chinese aid, $75 billion, was in the form of grants (about equivalent to Britain’s), while the rest was concessional lending at below-market interest rates.[5]

Forms of aid and recipients

Official sources divide aid into three categories: grants, interest free loans, and concessional loans.[4] Deborah Brautigam identifies in her book The Dragon's Gift nine types of aid from China including "medical teams, training and scholarships, humanitarian aid, youth volunteers, debt relief, budget support, turn-key or ‘complete plant’ projects [infrastructure, factories], aid-in-kind and technical assistance."[6]

Grants or non-interest loans have funded 2,025 complete infrastructure project, from the start of aid efforts up to 2009, in the categories of farming, water distribution, conference buildings, education facilities, power supply, transport, industrial facilities, and other projects.[7] Perhaps the famous type of project is a football stadium, which has been referred to as stadium diplomacy.[8] A similar type of project that receives attention is the construction of theatres and opera houses.[9]

There is an African focus with about 45% of aid going to African countries in 2009.[10] This is argued to be the result of China's increasing natural resources stake in Africa.[11]

See also


  1. ^ Brautigam, Deborah (2011). "Aid 'With Chinese Characteristics': Chinese Foreign Aid and Development Finance Meet the OECD-DAC Aid Regime" (PDF). Journal of International Development.
  2. ^ Li, Xiaoyun. "China's Foreign Aid and Aid to Africa" (PDF). OECD.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Bräutigam, Deborah (March 2010). "China, Africa and the International Aid Architecture". Africa Development Bank.
  4. ^ a b c China’s Foreign Aid and Government-Sponsored Investment Activities (PDF). RAND. 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d "Despite its reputation, Chinese aid is quite effective". The Economist. 12 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Analysis: Behind China's aid structure". IRIN. September 17, 2013.
  7. ^ "China's Foreign Aid". Xinhua. 2011-04-21.
  8. ^ Foreign Aid: Diplomacy, Development, and Domestic Politics. The University of Chicago Press. 2007. p. 32.
  9. ^ "An Opera House for Algeria". COMMANDOpera. April 21, 2010.
  10. ^ "China Gives Almost Half of Foreign Aid to African Countries". Bloomberg. April 21, 2011.
  11. ^ Hsu, Jennifer Y. J.; Hildebrandt, Timothy; Hasmath, Reza (2016). "'Going Out' or Staying In? The Expansion of Chinese NGOs in Africa". Development Policy Review. 34 (3): 423–439. SSRN 2612694.
AU Conference Center and Office Complex

The AU Conference Center and Office Complex (AUCC) is a building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It is the headquarters of the African Union and plays host to the biannual AU summits. It also serves as a conference center for African and diaspora businesses. The main building is 99.9 metres (328 feet) tall and it is the tallest building in Addis Ababa. Its cost was US$200 million funded by the Chinese government.

Amaan Stadium

Amaan Stadium (also spelled Amani) is a stadium in Zanzibar, Tanzania. The stadium holds 15,000 people.

Exim Bank of China

The Export–Import Bank of China (Chexim - China Exim Bank) (simplified Chinese: 中国进出口银行; traditional Chinese: 中國進出口銀行; pinyin: Zhōngguó Jìnchūkǒu Yínháng) is one of three institutional banks in China chartered to implement the state policies in industry, foreign trade, diplomacy, economy, and provide policy financial support so as to promote the export of Chinese products and services. Established in 1994, the bank is subordinated to the State Council.

List of theaters built by China as aid

The construction of theaters, opera houses, and other cultural facilities by China as gifts to foreign countries is a part of China's foreign aid program. In a white paper published by China in 2009 on its aid projects in the area of civil construction, the building of cultural facilities is one of the types identified among a total of 2,025 projects stated as built by a Chinese grant or no-interest loan to the recipient country.


A national opera house in Algiers is under construction as a US$40 million gift by China to Algeria. The foundation stone for the 1400 seat venue was laid in a ceremony in November 2012.


The Palais des Congrès de Yaoundé was built by China and opened in 1982. The venue is a 1,500 seat multipurpose performance hall with "an ultra-modern stage boasting the country's best sound and lighting equipment."


The National Theatre in Accra was opened in January 1993 after construction by China. The theatre is a gift as the loan from China funding the construction would later be cancelled in 2007. China granted a further US$2 million to refurbish the theatre for Ghana's golden jubilee celebrations.

The Drama Studio at the University of Ghana at Legon was built under the program as the original work on the National Theatre.


The Plaza Theatre in Rose Hill was renovated in 2008 using funds provided by China in the form of a non-interest loan.


The Grand Theatre in Dakar was constructed from 2008-2011 by Complant as a gift. The six storey, 1800 seat theatre was built at a cost of 16 billion CFA francs, of which China paid 14 billion CFA francs and Senegal contributed the rest.

Construction on a Museum of Black Civilization located in Dakar began in 2011, funded by a grant of $US30 million from China. The contractor for the project is the Shanghai Construction Group.


National Theatre of Somalia was built by China as a gift to Somalia in 1967.

Sri Lanka

Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre is theatre in Colombo built in 2011 by China as gift to enhance ties with Sri Lanka. Construction of the 1288 seat venue was handled by the Yanjian Group.

Trinidad and Tobago

National Academy for the Performing Arts in Port of Spain

Mandela National Stadium

The Mandela National Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Uganda. It is named after the South African then-President and anti-apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela. The stadium's record attendance of 50,000 was set in 2004, in a football match between the national football teams of Uganda and South Africa.

Moi International Sports Centre

The Moi International Sports Centre (abbreviated as M.I.S.C.) is a multi-purpose stadium in Kasarani, Kenya. It was built in 1987 for the All-Africa Games held in Nairobi. The facilities include a 60,000 seat arena with a running track and a pitch used for football and rugby union, a competition size swimming pool, an indoor arena and a 108-bed capacity hotel.The stadium was closed in January 2010 for renovation works worth Kes 900 million and funded by a grant to the Government of Kenya by the Government of China. Chinese firm, Sheng Li Engineering Construction Company Limited was contracted to conduct the renovations and the stadium was reopened in March 2012 after completion of the renovations.

In April and May 2014, after terror attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa, the main stadium was used as a screening center as part of 'Operation Usalama Watch' during which thousands of people were rounded up and arrested by the Kenya Police.The stadium located within the Sports Centre hosted the 2017 World U18 Championships in Athletics.

National Stadium (Tanzania)

Tanzania National Main Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It opened in 2007 and was built adjacent to Uhuru Stadium, the former national stadium. It hosts major football matches such as the Tanzanian Premier League and home matches of the Tanzania national football team.

With 60,000 seats it is the eleventh largest stadium in Africa and the largest stadium in Tanzania. It is owned by the Tanzanian Government. The stadium was built by Beijing Construction Engineering Group at a cost of $56 million.

70,000 people attended the first derby between Simba S.C. and Young Africans S.C. at the stadium in 2008. Both clubs usually draw very low attendances for their other league matches.

National Theatre of Ghana

The National Theatre, opened in 1992 and located in the Victoriaborg district of Accra, Ghana, was built by the Chinese and offered as a gift to Ghana. The theatre is governed by the National Theatre Law 1991, PNDC Law 259.It has a building area of 11,896 square metres (128,050 square feet) and is sited near the junction of the Independence Avenue and Liberia Road. The building has a complicated construction moulding and novel exterior features. When looked at from a distance, the whole structure looks like a gigantic ship or a seagull spreading its wings.The building houses the three resident companies of the National Dance Company, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the National Theatre Players.

New Laos National Stadium

The Lao National Stadium is a multi-use stadium in Vientiane, Laos, that was built in 2009. It is used mostly for football matches as well as athletics events and hosted the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2009 Southeast Asian Games.

Palais du Peuple (Guinea)

The Palais du Peuple (Palace of the People) is a venue for important events in Conakry, Guinea. In 2008, the building underwent serious renovations prior to celebrations for Guinea's 50th anniversary of independence.

Palais du Peuple (Kinshasa)

The People's Palace or Palace of the People (French: Palais du Peuple) is the seat of the National Assembly and Senate in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire. It was completed in 1979 with a line of credit from the People's Republic of China.

Palácio da Ponta Vermelha

The Palácio da Ponta Vermelha is the official residence of the President of Mozambique in Maputo. Ponta Vermelha (lit. Red Point) refers to the area of Maputo where it is located rather than to any feature of the building. The name is also used metonymically to refer to the Mozambican presidency.

It began as a warehouse and staff residence involved in the construction of the railway between the then Lourenço Marques and the Transvaal. After extensive rework, it became the official residence of the Portuguese governor and, with independence in 1975, of the President of the Republic.

Presidential Palace (Guinea)

The Sekhoutoureah Presidential Palace (Palais présidentiel Sekhoutoureah) in Conakry, Guinea is the seat of the President. The Palais Presidentiel Sekhoutoureah is behind the Cathédrale Sainte-Marie.

Sino-Nepal Friendship Bridge

The Sino-Nepal Friendship Bridge (Chinese: 中尼友谊桥; pinyin: Zhōng-Ní Yǒuyì Qiáo; Nepali: मितेरी पुल Miterī Pula) is a bridge spanning the Sun Kosi river, linking Kodari in Sindhulpalchok District, Nepal and Zhangmu, China.

From the bridge on the Nepalese side, Kodari in Sindhulpalchok District, the Arniko Rajmarg (Arniko Highway; abbreviated ARM) links to Kathmandu, named after the famous cat architect Arniko.

In the other direction, the China National Highway 318 goes to Zhangmu (Dram) and on to Shanghai. The Tibetan part of the highway between Zhangmu and Lhasa is known as the Friendship Highway.

The 2015 quakes closed the route and turned the border trading towns into ghost villages. In 2016, there was some repairs on the route, but trading had not been restored to previous levels. One problem is that there is a lot of damage that has not been fixed, and there are still big boulders coming down intermittently.

Sir Vivian Richards Stadium

Sir Vivian Richards Stadium is a stadium in North Sound, Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda. It was built for use in the 2007 Cricket World Cup where it hosted Super 8 matches. The stadium usually caters for 10,000 people, but temporary seating doubled its capacity for the 2007 World Cup. The stadium is named after former West Indies cricket captain Viv Richards.

Stade Général Seyni Kountché

Stade Général Seyni Kountché (SGSK), is a multi-purpose stadium in Niamey, Niger. Used for football matches, it is home to the Niger national squad, as well as Niger Premier League clubs Sahel SC, Olympic FC de Niamey, Zumunta AC and JS du Ténéré, as well as club competitions such as the Niger Cup. The venue is also sometimes used for rugby union.

Stade des Martyrs

The Stade des Martyrs de la Pentecôte (Martyrs of Pentecost Stadium), also known as simply the Stade des Martyrs and formerly known as Stade Kamanyola, is a national stadium located in the town of Lingwala in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is mainly used for football matches and has organised many concerts and athletics competitions.

It is the home stadium of the National Team of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the AS Vita Club and DC Motema Pembe of Championship Democratic Republic of the Congo football. The stadium has a capacity of 80,000 for international matches, but capacity is 125,000 for most matches.

Stadium diplomacy

Stadium diplomacy is a form of cultural diplomacy practiced by the People's Republic of China through building and donating stadiums and sports facilities in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and the South Pacific.The construction of stadiums is financed depending on the project with some given as gifts; paid for through low interest, concessional loans; built in partnership with both China and the host nation taking on different construction responsibilities; or through some other kind of partnership.

Trans-Mongolian Railway

The Trans-Mongolian Railway follows an ancient tea-caravan route from China to Russia and connects Ulan-Ude, on the Trans-Baikal (Trans-Siberian) railway in Russia, with the Chinese city of Jining, by way of Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia.Other important stops are Sükhbaatar, Darkhan, Choir, and Zamyn-Üüd/Erenhot (border crossing and gauge-changing station). The line was built between 1949 and 1961. In most of Mongolia, it is single track, and in China double track. The gauge is 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 27⁄32 in) in Russia and Mongolia and 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) in China. There are important branches leading to Erdenet and Baganuur.



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