Comparing US and Chinese Foreign Aid in the Era of Rising Powers

China is emerging as a key state actor in international development–a sector that has been dominated by the United States for decades. US and Chinese foreign aid programs can be compared on the basis of several benchmarks: 1) official state definition and accounting of foreign aid programs; 2) historical foundations and origins; 3) sectoral distribution, particularly in terms of the professed goals and objectives of the aid program; 4) nature of targeted recipient actors; 5) institutional mechanisms for delivery in recipient countries. Notwithstanding particular differences, Chinese and US foreign aid portfolios demonstrate their respective strategic political and economic interests in two ways: they shape the domestic politics of recipient countries in ways that accommodate the donor government’s policy preferences, and they enhance the social reputation and legitimacy of the donor state in the international system.

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This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Regilme, S.S.F. and Hodzi, O. (2021) 'Comparing US and Chinese Foreign Aid in the Era of Rising Powers', The International Spectator Italian Journal of International Affairs

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