China’s total concessional finance for development reached USD 3.1 billion in 2015, compared to USD 3.4 billion in 2014 (OECD estimates based on Government of China, 2015; and websites of multilateral organisations). In 2015, China channelled USD 233 million through multilateral organisations. The second White Paper on China’s Foreign Aid includes information on the overall geographical and sectoral distribution of the Chinese programme between 2010 and 2012 (Government of China, 2014).
China’s Eight Principles for Economic Aid and Technical Assistance to Other Countries, announced by Premier Zhou Enlai in 1964, set out the core principles of China’s foreign development co-operation (Government of China, 1964). The Ministry of Commerce’s Department of Foreign Assistance is at the centre of the Chinese system and manages over 90% of its bilateral funding. It is responsible for drafting the development co-operation budget and regulations, managing foreign development co-operation joint ventures, programming zero-interest loans and grants, and co-ordinating concessional loans with the China Exim Bank (the latter are not included in OECD estimates because little information is available on their objectives or financial terms).
China does not have specific priority countries (aside from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea). Its grant aid is distributed more or less equally to some 120 partner countries. The main sectors are public facilities, industry and economic infrastructure. China offers eight different forms of co-operation with complete projects (turn-key projects) being the major modality. China also provides humanitarian assistance.
China engages in triangular co-operation, partnering with several international organisations (e.g. the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the World Bank) and Development Assistance Committee (DAC) members (e.g. the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States). China’s development co-operation through multilateral organisations was primarily channelled through the United Nations (89%) and the regional development banks (9%). China is also a founding member of the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a multilateral development bank with its headquarters in China.