Chinese development finance in Africa is unusual in that much of the financial flows from China do not constitute official development aid (ODA).
Instead, much of it comes in the form of export credits and strategic lines of credit to Chinese-related companies, among other mechanisms. In this sense, it is very similar to Japanese financial flows to China several decades ago, when Japan began its outward march with a large line of credit to China, which, at the time, was not credit-worthy either. Looking at the nature of Chinese development aid — and non-aid — to Africa provides insights into China’s strategic approach to outward investment and economic diplomacy, even if exact figures and strategies are not easily ascertained.
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