“Chinese aid is not a coherent and strategic tool of the Chinese state.”
Merriden Varrall argues that there is a lack of understanding about China’s foreign aid. She seeks to explain China’s approach to foreign aid, commenting that:
Beijing does not use aid as a strategic tool. Rather, it follows a system of demand-driven aid, whereby recipient countries approach Beijing with proposals for developmental aid.
Unlike OECD donors, China does not (1) assume the idea of “development as freedom” or (2) view transparency and good governance as keys to achieving development.
Instead, China views economic growth and infrastructure investment as keys to achieving development. Therefore, while “skyscrapers and wide roads” funded by Chinese aid may seem unnecessary to some, these projects reflect what development means in China.
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