No.21 Diversity and Transformation of Aid Patterns in Asia's "Emerging Donors"
This paper analyses comparatively the aid patterns and their formulation of four emerging donor countries: China, South Korea, Thailand and India. The aim of the paper is to increase understanding of how these countries' aid patterns have been created and by what factors.
The aid patterns employed by the emerging donors are divergent. Chinese aid has shifted from the overtly political and ideological to the commercialist; thus, current Chinese aid is closely tied to Chinese state owned enterprises (SOEs). Korean aid has consistently been commercialist, but recently it has incorporated universal and humanitarian considerations. Thailand has maintained a keen interest in aid as a stabiliser of its neighbouring countries. The Indian aid program was initially formed during the Cold War consonant with the ideology of the Non-Aligned Movement, but from the 1990s economic considerations became more important. Indian aid is influenced also by regional strategies, namely the stabilisation of neighbouring countries.
Various factors are proposed to account for the formation and transformation of the aid patterns. Current Chinese aid is influenced by deepening economic interdependence and by diplomatic competition with Taiwan. Korean aid is promoted by pragmatic values and more recently by universal humanitarian values. The recent shift to a humanitarian emphasis is explained by a shift in the relative power balance of actors away from the conservative toward the progressive. In addition, its middle power status in the international community makes South Korea sensitive to competition from other donors, such as China, and to international pressure from DAC. Thai aid is motivated by the economic gap between Thailand and its neighbouring countries, by its strategies toward the Indo-China region, and by its compliance with DAC. The Indian aid program was initially formed during the Cold War in response to the political and ideological Non-Aligned Movement, but from the 1990s economic considerations became more important. India is also influenced by regional strategies, namely the stabilisation of neighbouring countries.
This comparative analysis of these four emerging donors contributes to an understanding of the diversity of aid patterns and the particular factors that create them. The increasing diversity of aid patterns further implies potential for future pluralism of aid.