Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 05/2008

Aiding Transparency: What We Can Learn About China Exim Bank's Concessional Loans - Working Paper 126

Paul Hubbard

September 2007

Center for Global Development


Development experts interested in China's rapidly expanding development assistance program—particularly in Africa—have been frustrated by what appears to be a lack of transparency in the make up and amount of Chinese official development assistance. How much aid is Beijing giving, and to whom? In this new working paper, Paul Hubbard fills in a piece of this puzzle by reviewing the concessional lending program of China’s Export-Import Bank. By analyzing Chinese-language sources from the Ministry of Commerce, China Exim Bank, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and official news outlets, he finds that more than 48 countries have agreements with China's Exim Bank for concessional loans, and that the average loan of US$20-30 million is typically made available to Chinese exporting firms to develop infrastructure and facilities in developing countries. Given that the Chinese government has already published this kind of information piecemeal on government websites and in the media, Hubbard suggests that it publish an annual, systematic review of countries with which China has a concessional loan framework agreement, and a list of project agreements signed with recipient governments.