Posted by: gppn | 13/11/2009

Aid Governance – Chinese Aid to Zambia

Speaker: Sawako Inada, The University of Tokyo

Moderator: Wilson Tan (SIPA/LKYSPP) – Rapporteur: Kayo Matsushita (Tokyo University)


While Chinese aid has become more influential today, it is problematic because characteristics of Chinese aid are quite different from other donors. Sometimes Chinese aid is criticized due to lack of humanitarian consideration, lack of good governance and so on.


How we can cooperate with China?


Characteristics of Chinese Aid

No conditionality

Mutual approach

  • Variety and irrelevance of aid giving actors and styles (various ministries are concerned in aid)

It is difficult for China to join in the Development Assistance Committee because;

  • Its loan is basically tied aid,
  • There’s a lack of information sharing environment

Why Zambia?

China and Zambia go way back and now since Zambia is found to be rich in natural resources, Chinese interest is quite evident.

History of Chinese aid to Zambia

From the 2007 onwards, Chinese aid has increased significantly. However the nature of aid is now changing;

Difference in 1997 and 2007 projects

  • Tazara railway(1970s): china delivered assistance w/o gaining any resources

Downsides: The aid was considered low quality as it was without any conditionalities; there was no cooperation with other donors, thus undermining the other aid in Zambia

  • Special Economic Zones, 2006 made China’s Economic interests quite obvious. On one hand it helped in job creation and increased exports. On the other hand, lack of transparency, low quality of management, ill treatment of labors,  showed that there was no proper evaluation system.


China: to continue to make efforts to improve the quality of the aid

Other donors : to support China and Zambia

Zambia: to improve “Governance”; especially policy management with all donors involved in the development of Zambia, and accountability

China doesn’t want to join the donor groups, but it can enhance Zambian participation by giving options to recipient.

Question and Answers

Does China provide opportunity for the other donors to cooperate? Is there any chance to support china?

China is a developing country. Though indirect cooperation has been taking place already, no official framework or data exists to support the statement.


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