China’s approach to humanitarian assistance in Africa
Chinese humanitarian aid in Africa in 2020 and 2021 was overwhelmingly dominated by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which included providing medical supplies and medical teams in 2020, and consisted almost entirely of providing vaccines in 2021. Chinese aid related to COVID-19 has reached nearly every country in Africa. Prior to 2020, the majority of Chinese humanitarian aid activities in Africa were health-related (making up 74% of activities and 76% of funding), and included deploying medical personnel, constructing infrastructure such as hospitals, and contributing medical supplies, equipment, and drugs. The remaining spending was approximately evenly split between emergency food aid, long-term developmental food aid and food security, and other forms of disaster relief. Geographically, China’s humanitarian spending in Africa has been concentrated in Angola, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda, which together accounted for 51% of humanitarian spending from 2000-2017. Most of Chinese humanitarian aid is bilateral (89%), although China has been increasingly contributing to multilateral organisations in recent years. There is a lack of complete, consistent, and detailed information about Chinese humanitarian assistance (and Chinese development assistance more generally), as China does not participate in centralised global reporting systems to the same extent as many other donor countries. The most comprehensive and detailed source of data available is the AidData Global Chinese Development Finance Dataset, which currently covers the period from 2000-2017 and brings together data from a variety of official and unofficial sources.