PEGNet Policy Brief | China’s aid exports to Africa and the COVID-19 pandemic

China’s aid exports to Africa and the COVID-19 pandemic: How much? Where? What?

China’s aid to Africa receives significant attention from policymakers, development practitioners, and observers worldwide. This is even more the case since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, given China’s importance as a donor of vaccines, ventilators, face masks, disinfectants, and other medical supplies. This PEGNet Policy Brief describes the general patterns of Beijing’s so-called “mask diplomacy” and “vaccine diplomacy” compared to China’s pre-pandemic aid exports. First, we find that China’s average monthly aid exports to Africa did not increase after the pandemic outbreak (in contrast to those to the rest of the world). Second, we observe a shift towards medical aid at the expense of other aid goods after the pandemic outbreak. Chinese non-medical aid to Africa was 26.6% below its pre-pandemic (2017–2019) level. Third, we find significant shifts in the cross-country distribution of Chinese aid exports, creating both so-called aid darlings (e.g., Ethiopia) and aid orphans (e.g., Côte d‘Ivoire) across the African continent.

Read the latest PEGNet Policy Brief by Andreas Fuchs, Lennart Kaplan, Krisztina Kis-Katos, Sebastian S. Schmidt, Felix Turbanisch and Feicheng Wang! The research was also featured on the IfW Website among others.

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