By the numbers

China's Global Development Footprint

The clearest look yet at Chinese official finance worldwide

What does our china data cover?

What does our China data cover?

An open source approach sheds light on opaque financial flows

The most comprehensive and detailed source of project-level information on China’s global development footprint ever assembled.

China does not publish a country-by-country breakdown of its international official finance activities. Nor does it publish project-level data. 

Using an innovative methodology, Tracking Underreported Financial Flows (TUFF), AidData does both.

What's included in China's official finance?

China's official finance is less concessional than that of other large players

Official Development Assistance (ODA)

  • Commonly known as 'aid'
  • Concessional in terms (>= 25% grant element)
  • Primarily intended for development and welfare

Other Official Flows (OOF)

  • Non-concessional in terms (< 25% grant element)
  • Primarily intended for commercial or representational purposes

Vague Official Finance (Vague OF)

  • Clearly Official Finance, but insufficient information to assign to either ODA or OOF

Which countries does China favor?

China gives aid mainly to Africa, but commercial interests are more geographically dispersed

Top 10 Recipients of Chinese ODA:

  • Cuba ($6.7 billion)
  • Cote d'Ivoire ($4.0 billion)
  • Ethiopia ($3.7 billion)
  • Zimbabwe ($3.6 billion)
  • Cameroon ($3.4 billion)
  • Nigeria ($3.1 billion)
  • Tanzania ($3.0 billion)
  • Cambodia ($3.0 billion)
  • Sri Lanka ($2.8 billion)
  • Ghana ($2.5 billion

Top 10 Recipients of Chinese OOF:

  • Russia ($36.6 billion)
  • Pakistan ($16.3 billion)
  • Angola ($13.4 billion)
  • Laos ($11.0 billion)
  • Venezuela ($10.8 billion)
  • Turkmenistan ($10.1 billion)
  • Ecuador ($9.7 billion)
  • Brazil ($8.5 billion)
  • Sri Lanka ($8.2 billion)
  • Kazakstan ($6.7 billion)

In which sectors does China focus?

Clear emphasis on infrastructure, with projects across energy, transportation and communications

How does China compare against the United States?

Similar sized portfolios with very different compositions

  • Total Official Finance: Between 2000-2014, Chinese official finance was at $354.3 billion. During the same period, US official finance was at $394.6 billion.
  • Development Aid: US ODA dwarfs Chinese ODA.
  • Other Flows: Less concessional and more commercially oriented projects make up the bulk of the China’s global official finance portfolio.
Working Paper #46

Aid, China, and Growth: 

Evidence from a New Global Development Finance Dataset

A new global dataset of official financing—including foreign aid and other forms of concessional and non-concessional state financing—from China to 138 countries between 2000 and 2014 is used to investigate whether and to what extent Chinese aid affects economic growth in recipient countries, and to test the popular claim that significant financial support from China impairs the effectiveness of grants and loans from Western donors and lenders. 

Working Paper

About this research

Explore the links below for behind-the-scenes details on the dataset

Where did the data come from?

The data was collected by AidData over the last five years using its Tracking Underreported Financial Flows (TUFF) methodology. For more details, see below:

How should the data be used/cited?

Learn about recommended ways to use the data and get answers to frequently asked questions:

Who has used the data?

The TUFF methodology has been stress-tested, refined, codified, and subjected to scientific peer-review. See how AidData and others are using the data:

Who funded this work?