Chinese Development Cooperation and the EU

By John Humphrey, Institute of Development Studies, UK

Policy Brief No 17 – March 2011

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China has the highest profile of the "new actors" in development cooperation. This derives not only from the resources that China has devoted to building economic and diplomatic relationships, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, but also from the size and rapid growth of China's economy and its trading relationships and its distinctive approach to development cooperation.

China is neither a new nor an emerging donor. From the 1950s until the present day, China has been active in development cooperation. Nevertheless, over the past 15 years, China has become a more important development actor and has expanded its economic and political ties with developing countries, particularly in Africa. Much attention in the West has been given to China's high-profile links with Sudan and Zimbabwe and to its policy of non-interference in domestic affairs. However, the challenges posed by China for both the EU and the OECD donor community more broadly go deeper than this. China is not only a donor, but also an emerging power that competes for strategic resources and strategic relationships. Read the full policy brief