Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Foreign aid in Africa in the new millennium: The China and U.S. model fight for relevance
by McDonald, Michael Elliott, M.A.L.S., Georgetown University, 2013, 110; 1536609
Abstract (Summary)

Poverty remains the scourge of the modern world. Millions of people live in poverty despite the best efforts of the most powerful governments in the world. Due to a myriad of political and historical reasons, the most vulnerable of these are in Africa, and the sub-Saharan region of Africa remains the poorest region in the world. Over the last two decades, the world's two largest economies, the United States and China, have emerged as the preeminent aid donors to the African continent. The purpose of this research is to analyze the competition between both development models, discern which model is responsible for the alleviation of the most poverty and assess the human values questions that arise from both approaches.

The analysis used data from 2004–2008 because the timeframe is considered the golden age of American Aid to the continent, is free of data skewed from the 2008 economic downturn and represents a mature Chinese foreign aid mechanism. Chinese and United States aid allocations to Angola, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, often the poster childs of negative connotations of Chinese foreign aid, were analyzed and compared from this timeframe.

Despite various problems with the quality of data and considering the long-term viability of the poverty alleviation, the data showed a positive correlation to both the United States' and Chinese models of aid and poverty alleviation. The data also showed a clear indication that the Chinese model affected poverty levels at a greater measure than the United States' model.

Based on the data and research concerning the two development aid models, the American development aid system was found to be characterized by a bureaucratic process, insistency on aid conditionality, and a focus on good governance that collectively neglected poverty reduction. The Chinese model was found to be more conducive to poverty reduction due to a minimal development aid structure, nominal aid conditionality and a consistent focus on infrastructure projects, despite the system's opacity which presented some trouble in data collection.

Three primary human values concepts also arose from the dichotomy of the two development aid problems. The impoverished were found to be better served by a focus of development aid on infrastructure rather than good governance. The United States' focus on good governance was found to essentially punish those in poverty for their government's ineffectiveness. Finally, the ascension of the Chinese development aid model changed both the Chinese and United States' development aid model positively.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Chaudhuri, Adhip
School: Georgetown University
Department: Liberal Studies
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: MAI 51/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: African Studies, Economics, International Relations
Keywords: Africa, Aid conditionality, China, Development aid, Foreign aid, Poverty reduction
Publication Number: 1536609
ISBN: 978-1-303-05407-5
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