Tracking Venezuelan Development Finance and South-South Activities in the Caribbean

In 2012, AidData began developing an innovative methodology that enables the systematic collection of project-level development finance data from media sources for donors that are either unwilling or unable to disclose such information. A project funded by the Roy R. Charles Center at the College of William and Mary program employed this media-based data collection (MBDC) methodology to produce a dataset that captures more than $7.6 billion (2009 USD) in Venezuelan development finance from 2000 to 2011.




Chinese “aid” is a lightning rod for criticism. Policy-makers, journalists, and public intellectuals claim that Beijing uses its largesse to cement alliances with political leaders, secure access to natural resources, and create exclusive commercial opportunities for Chinese firms—all at the expense of citizens living in developing countries. We argue that much of the controversy about Chinese “aid” stems from a failure to distinguish between China's Official Development Assistance (ODA) and more commercially oriented sources and types of state financing. Using a new database on China's official financing commitments to Africa from 2000 to 2013, we find that the allocation of Chinese ODA is driven primarily by foreign policy considerations, while economic interests better explain the distribution of less concessional flows. These results highlight the need for better measures of an increasingly diverse set of non-Western financial activities.

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