About The Project

China.aiddata.org is a collaborative online platform that seeks to make information about Chinese development finance flows to Africa more accessible and usable. By sharing, synthesizing, and standardizing diverse sources of development finance information from journalists, scholars, government officials, business professionals, and local community stakeholders, this open data platform is designed to facilitate better analysis and understanding of Chinese development finance activities in Africa.

Over the last decade, assistance from non-Western governments has expanded both in absolute terms and as a share of global development finance. Donors outside of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee (DAC) have significantly increased the level of competition in the development finance market and given developing countries the opportunity to “shop around” for the most attractive sources of external support. However, many of these new actors have effectively opted out of the global development finance reporting regime. Therefore, while we know that countries like Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, and Venezuela collectively provide tens of billions of dollars of overseas development finance each year, we don’t know very much about where this money is going.

AidData has developed a new methodology for Tracking Under-reported Financial Flows (TUFF) to systematically collect open-source information about development finance flows from suppliers that do not publish their own project-level data.

Our first initiative to apply the TUFF methodology tracks Chinese development finance to African countries from 2000-2012. From 2012 to early 2014, we used these methods to create a detailed project-level database of official Chinese development finance flows to Africa from 2000 to 2012. This database includes more than 1950 pledged, initiated, and completed projects, worth over $84 billion.

In collaboration with the Center for Global Development (CGD), we also published a working paper that uses these data to address some of the major policy debates about the drivers of China’s development finance activities in Africa. One of the motivations for this paper was to establish that the application of the TUFF methodology is in fact a viable way to gather project-level aid information from donors who are unable or unwilling to disclose their data.

AidData has also carried out TUFF data collection pilot projects for Saudi Arabian, Qatari, Venezuelan and Indian development finance. In the future, AidData plans to refine its methods and expand the application of its methodology to other donors and regions. 

Couldn't make it to the launch event? Watch the presentation, panel and Q&A here!

Institutional Support 
This project has benefited from the generous support of Humanity United, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER). With support from Humanity United and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, AidData published the first sub-nationally georeferenced database of Chinese development finance activities to Africa and an interactive web-map displaying the geocoded development finance data alongside other spatial data on poverty, electrification, armed and social conflict, population and mineral wealth.  The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation have provided support to facilitate the collection and analysis of geocoded data on Chinese development finance to Latin America, Asia, and Africa. AidData and the University of Cape Town have also received support from UNU-WIDER to test the accuracy of the TUFF methodology through a “ground-truthing” initiative in Uganda, South Africa and Zimbabwe. These in-country project audits revealed strong correspondence between AidData's remotely-generated TUFF data and observable activities in the field, such as the construction of roads, schools and hospitals.