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China in Africa: Competition for traditional development finance institutions?

Chris Humphrey and Katharina Michaelowa ()

World Development, 2019, vol. 120, issue C, 15-28

Abstract: Official development finance from China has risen tremendously in the past two decades across the globe, including in the world’s poorest continent Africa. How has this sudden increase in development resources affected the two major multilateral development banks (MDBs) in the region, the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB)? One might expect that the MDBs would compete with China to maintain influence in Africa. This study uses statistical tests and interviews with government officials in three recipient countries to see if this is the case. The results indicate that total MDB finance by country change little over time in response to Chinese activity. The sectoral allocation of concessional lending to the poorer countries does not show any responsiveness either. In contrast, shifts in levels and sector allocation can be observed for non-concessional countries. Overall, the study suggests that while China’s role in African development finance is indeed substantial and growing, it has not had the “game changing” impact on traditional development finance as popular perception might lead one to believe. This may change, however, once more recipient countries develop economically and move to non-concessional lending.

Keywords: China; World Bank; African Development Bank; Africa; Aid; Infrastructure (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.03.014

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