The DAC and China: the origins and end of development assistance

Publication date:
Gerardo Bracho, Diplomático (México); investigador experto asociado, Centro para la Investigación de la Cooperación Global, Universidad de Duisburg-Essen (Alemania).

This paper explores the relations between the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and China from a historical perspective. To do this it addresses the genesis and content of DAC’s “altruistic paradigm” and China’s “realist paradigm”, highlighting their differences. It also analyses DAC’s efforts and failure to co-opt China into the effective aid agenda: while China refuses to become a donor – citing its Southern identity – the DAC is resistant to recognising China as a co-operator with different responsibilities. The paper goes on to illustrate how, in order to survive “unfair competition”, the DAC incorporates elements from China and the South into its narrative and cooperation practices. Lastly, China’s move towards a more assertive foreign policy is explored along with the dynamic of relations between the DAC and China – between competition and convergence – in an uncertain international context.

Key words: Development Assistance Committee (DAC), China, South-South cooperation, official development assistance (ODA)


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