1 May 2006

China aid to Tonga unconventional - academic

4:12 pm on 1 May 2006

A regional academic says China will be going against the trend if it provides millions of dollars to Tonga to balance its upcoming budget.

Local media have reported that after last month's China-Pacific summit, China will provide nearly 6 million US dollars as part of a new aid package.

Professor of History of Politics at the University of the South Pacific, Ian Campbell, says most countries do not provide aid in such a manner.

"It's certainly unusual these days to have direct budgetary subsidies between aid donors and recipient countries. I'm not sure that China has not done this before, but the what you might call the main-line aid donors gave up direct budgetary support a long time ago. For about the last 25 years or so they have been emphasising more project aid."

Professor Campbell says donors steer away from direct budgetary assistance because it is hard to monitor and also causes inflation and a balance of payments deficit.

He says Australia's aid to Papua New Guinea is another exception.