August 20, 2010
Professor Deborah Brautigam
The China-Japan relationship is now at a new stage of development partnership. Over three decades, Japan has provided ODA for China in contribution to its social and economic development since 1979. Today rising as one of the important donors, China is, in the world, increasingly expected to assume accountability for aid delivery and its outcomes. What JICA believes essential is to strengthen the partnership to support this new role for China. A visit to China by the President Ogata of JICA at the end of 2009 marked a critical moment for indicating a changing relationship between the two countries.
Illuminating Insight on China’s foreign aid to Africa is found in the newly published book, “The Dragon’s Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa,” written by Deborah Brautigam, Professor of American University. Drawing on years of research in China and Africa, she dispels apprehension by some critics on the lack of transparency in China’s approach to Africa. To deepen understanding of its practice, JICA invited Prof. Brautigam and held a public seminar on her work at JICA Research Institute on July 16. Through this seminar and associated meetings, JICA sought to explore ways to strengthen its bilateral partnership with China more than ever.
Prof. Brautigam’s indepth analysis on China’s aid & economic cooperation with Africa reveals that it primarily focuses on business, linking aid with trade and investment. It is essentially different from conventional ODA provided by the West, which devotes a large amount of resources to public social development. While China’s economic engagement in Africa needs more efforts in compliance in environmental consideration or labor standard, she stresses that China’s effective integration of aid and business in the region can be a potential new model of development cooperation.
Questions and Answer Session
China’s vital commitment to Africa, JICA believes, will in turn contribute to regional stability in Asia as well as Africa, as a whole. With rising crop prices at the global level, for instance, the issue of food security needs to be addressed through collective efforts on a regional basis. Keeping a good relationship between Africa and East Asia including China and Japan is all the more critical than before. Accordingly, in order to facilitate China’s role as a donor, JICA has tried to work together with multiple actors at the Chinese ministerial level. Through dialogues with the Ministry of Commerce, the Export-Import Bank of China, and related agencies, JICA is sharing its rich experiences and know-how in aid management. It hopes that such interactions between the two countries will further encourage China’s evolution as a responsible development partner in the international community.
Responding to the changing global aid architecture, JICA continues to provide support to China and newly industrializing countries as a way of south-south cooperation. JICA believes it is meaningful to share Asian experiences of development with the world. The mix of aid and economic activities, as China is exploring in Africa, may add new value and lessons for aid approaches.