Global e-commerce sales surged to US$25.6 trillion in 2018, up 8 percent from 2017. Leading the way are China (US$1.5 trillion), the United States (US$600 billion), and the United Kingdom (US$135 billion) holding the top three spots respectively. Yet Africa, with 17 percent of the world’s population, still lags behind both in e-commerce sales and the use of mobile money for online purchases. Why is this a problem?
As much as current US policy has sought to characterize China’s lending program in blunt and strictly negative terms, the reality is mixed.
A Plan to Address the COVID-19 Debt Crises in Poor Countries and Build a Better Sovereign Debt System
Swift and orderly action on international debt is a moral, political, economic, and security imperative for the United States. A series of disorderly and protracted debt crises would be catastrophic for the world’s poorest countries. A Biden administration can raise the G20’s ambition level to avert a global debt crisis and strive to forge a consensus around a COVID-19 debt framework.
We examine the behavior of Chinese government lenders in two debt rescheduling episodes: a “low stakes” case involving Seychelles and a “high stakes” case involving the Republic of Congo. The fact that the Republic of Congo was worse off after rescheduling its debts with Beijing underscores the importance of exposing these deals to public scrutiny before they are finalized and building borrower country capacity to negotiate more favorable deals.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises: Evidence from Two-wave Phone Surveys in China
This paper examines both the short-term and mid-term impact of COVID-19 restrictions on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), based on two waves of phone interviews with a previously surveyed large SME sample in China.
This note aims to help recipient countries understand Chinese aid management and structures by providing an overview of those structures and what they mean for the future of aid from China. The note takes into account two key shifts in Chinese aid management in recent years: the formation of CIDCA, and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). We hope this note will also be of interest to development practitioners seeking to better engage with China or to learn from China’s experience.
China’s Aid from the Bottom Up: Recipient Country Reporting on Chinese Development Cooperation Flows
This policy paper aims to fill this gap by shedding light on China’s global impact “from the bottom up.” The paper uses three rounds of data submitted since 2014 by countries receiving Chinese aid to a process known as the “Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.” To supplement the data, the paper also includes results of surveys and a series of interviews with key individuals involved in reporting Chinese development cooperation data within recipient countries.
On May 8, 2020, CGD senior fellow Scott Morris testified before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on China in Africa. Morris's testimony focused on China’s lending to sub-Saharan African countries, how it affects the debt picture on the continent, and how the US government can respond.
Over the past two decades, China has become a major global lender, with outstanding debt claims from direct loans and trade advances alone exceeding 1.5 percent of world GDP. This surge in lending has financed many projects in infrastructure, mining, and energy. The problem is that there is little official data beyond those aggregate numbers, mainly because China has not released a breakdown of its lending activities.
China’s lending volumes in developing countries far surpass those of other bilateral creditors and compare in scale only to World Bank lending practices. Where World Bank lending terms, volumes, and policies are publicly available, the state of knowledge on official Chinese financing terms remains limited due to a lack of official transparency.
With the steady decline in new confirmed cases of coronavirus in China beyond Hubei Province, public scrutiny has increasingly shifted to the economy affected by the outbreak, particularly the impact on the plethora of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). An earlier CGD note explored the impact of coronavirus on SMEs using data from the Enterprise Survey for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in China (ESIEC) and follow-up interviews. In this accompanying note, we consider how SMEs can resume production without compromising epidemic control.
The Impact of Coronavirus on China’s SMEs: Findings from the Enterprise Survey for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in China
Since the coronavirus outbreak began in January, Chinese business activity has been severely slowed, affecting China’s position in the global industrial supply chain. The Enterprise Survey for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in China (ESIEC) launched a survey on the “condition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) amidst the coronavirus outbreak.”
China’s “Counterpart Assistance” Approach to Coronavirus: Lessons from the Wenchuan Earthquake Response
In early 2020, a new type of coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19) emerged suddenly and spread steadily from China’s Wuhan City, Hubei Province, disrupting China’s social order. The epicenter of the epidemic, Hubei Province lacked medical personnel and epidemic prevention supplies; assistance was urgently needed. This note identifies the Chinese government’s “counterpart aid” strategy in response to the epidemic and explores the strategy’s utility, drawing on earlier experiences with disaster response.
In the coming years, China will confront a series of decisions about how to engage with citizens in the countries where it is implementing BRI projects; leaders of the same countries; and donors and lenders outside of China.
Interest in mobilizing private finance for SDG investments is surging in a world of stagnating aid, limited fiscal space, and rising LIC debt. But is more reliance on private finance realistic for LICs? This paper explores the performance since the global financial crisis of one source of private finance for LICs: cross-border private capital inflows.
The Kunming-Vientiane Railway: The Economic, Procurement, Labor, and Safeguards Dimensions of a Chinese Belt and Road Project
The Kunming-Vientiane railway is an anchor investment of the Chinese government’s Belt and Road initiative. This case study will assess the rail project along four dimensions: economic implications; procurement arrangements; labor; and environmental and social safeguards. In each of these areas, evidence from the railway project suggests that Chinese policy and practice could be better aligned with the practices of other sources of multilateral and bilateral development finance.
The Limits (And Human Costs) of Population Policy: Fertility Decline and Sex Selection in China under Mao - Working Paper 505
Most of China’s fertility decline predates the famous One Child Policy—and instead occurred under its predecessor, the Later, Longer, Fewer (LLF) policy. Studying LLF’s contribution to fertility and sex selection behavior, we find that it i) reduced China’s total fertility rate by 0.9 births per woman (explaining 28% of China’s modern fertility decline), ii) doubled the use of male-biased fertility stopping rules, and iii) promoted postnatal neglect (implying 210,000 previously unrecognized missing girls). Considering Chinese population policy to be extreme in global experience, our paper demonstrates the limits of population policy—and its potential human costs.
The rapid expansion of internet access across the globe is a welcome development, but it raises new policy challenges. And while there is broad agreement in the development community on the importance of getting digital policy “right,” too little attention has been paid to how policymakers in the developing world can best engage with the companies who dominate the digital landscape.