As the largest emerging donor, China has seen its bilateral aid increasing at a staggering rate, particularly to Sub-Saharan Africa. Nevertheless, due to a lack of transparency and nonconformity to Western reporting practices, relatively little is known about the motivations, principles and modalities of Chinese aid. This paper makes use of geocoded datasets recently made available by AidData to investigate the subnational distribution of Chinese aid, examining China’s economic interests and poverty in recipient countries as potential determinants of aid received by subnational regions. World Bank aid is used as a benchmark for comparison. While my analysis fails to find a correlation between economic interests and aid, it shows Chinese aid to be consistently less pro-poor than World Bank aid and inadvertently finds a strong tendency for Chinese aid to go into capital cities; both findings support the request-based nature of Chinese aid.
How to Cite:
Bei, L.J., 2019. Where does the dragon’s gift go? Subnational distribution of China’s aid to Sub-Saharan Africa from 2007 to 2012. LSE Undergraduate Political Review, 2, pp.27–59.