China is now a rival to traditional Western donors and lenders, the US, the World Bank and the Development Co-operation Directorate (DCD-DAC). Beijing is poised to overtake the US in foreign aid flow in much of the developing world, including Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Central and Eastern Europe, a group of researchers at AidData research lab of the US-based William & Mary public research university concluded in their paper.
The authors however pointed out that "while Beijing’s broad ambitions are well known, the details of China’s development activities are not. China has remained a non-transparent funder of overseas projects, creating an informational black hole for those trying to understand where and on what it is spending its money."
According to the expert, the report reviews foreign aid as a political tool in that the world’s powers use to compete with each other. Foreign aid is mutually profitable both to the donors and to the recipients. Moreover, it has a positive influence on the development of the international community.
AidData’s authors said that they have analyzed China's foreign aid flows from 2000 to 2014, with "more than 4,300 projects in 140 countries and territories."
Mei Xinyu, however, questioned the released statistics, especially with regards to China, doubting that the researchers have used equal statistic criteria.
The expert also pointed out that the report concludes that a large portion of China's foreign assistance goes towards development projects, which is a significant trend that Beijing is likely to follow.
He further expressed hope that thy US won't turn foreign aid flows into a type of “competitive tool” for large powers, preferring to invest in the economic development of other countries and not simply providing military assistance, arms and weaponry.